Never too late to learn, upskill
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Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh

– Dr. Singh

SENIOR Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, has said that it is never too late to continue learning and upskilling oneself, in a plea to older Guyanese to apply for one of the government’s 20,000 online scholarships.  The programme is being facilitated through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL). The minister made this statement during an outreach at the Cotton Tree Primary School on Saturday.
“The journey of educating yourself is never finished. The task of acquiring skills is never finished. This is a journey that is always ongoing. Don’t feel that because you complete CXC you are educated that you don’t need any more education. Don’t feel that because you complete a diploma or a degree, that that is it or that you know everything,” Minister Singh said.

A section of the gathering at the Cotton Tree Primary School GOAL scholarship outreach

The minister said a person’s age does not limit his or her ability to learn a new subject or acquire a new skill. He also noted that while the government places much emphasis on the development of youth, anyone can capitalise on the opportunity to apply for a GOAL scholarship.
“It is PPP/C President, Dr. [Mohamed] Irfaan Ali who brings now to you, GOAL, which will enable you to have a university education without even leaving your home. You know what this means? It means that you can still pursue a university education without leaving your job, without leaving your village and going to Turkeyen or going to Tain, or going overseas. You can stay in the comfort of your home. You can still do your job. You can still take care of your children and still be able to uplift yourself educationally,” he said.

Minister Singh explained that Guyana is primed to undergo significant economic transformation, but it cannot happen without education and the upgrading of persons’ skillsets. He said this principle is the driving force behind the PPP/C government’s delivery of the GOAL scholarship programme. Additionally, he said this is the reason the government is hosting outreaches in every community, to ensure that every citizen is informed of the scholarships and is afforded an opportunity to apply.
“We don’t want you only to be spectators of the transformation that is taking [place] in Guyana…. We want you to be able to actively contribute to the dramatic transformation that is unfolding in our country…” In this regard, Minister Singh noted that GOAL is not a stand-alone programme but complements investments being made to enhance the delivery of education in schools, institutes and at the university.  He also noted that the government is working towards achieving universal secondary education at the end of its first term.

Meanwhile, Region Five Vice-chairman Ryan Peters hailed the PPP/C government for fulfilling its promise to Guyana to deliver thousands of scholarships. He told attendees that the government is keen on investing in their growth and well-being.
In his address, Region Five Member of Parliament Faizal Jaffarally said the government will touch every area in the region. He noted while campaigning, the PPP/C had met a wide cross-section of stakeholders, whose main concern was access to education.

As such, the government embarked on providing scholarships in 85 programmes within nine months of taking office.  Jaffarally also noted that to ensure inclusivity, the government has made provisions for persons who may not have the requisite qualifications by designing a six-month Bachelor’s Preparatory Programme.
Region Five Chairman Vickchand Ramphal and Regional Education Officer Deon Lyn Lewis-Clarke also attended the outreach.
Over the past few weeks, ministers of government have fanned out across the country to ensure that all citizens are informed about the GOAL programme. The scholarship programme is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of the Public Service. (DPI)

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