The Knowledge Society
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KNOWLEDGE is power. As the experiences of Asian countries have demonstrated, societies driven by knowledge are more likely to prosper both economically and socially when compared to those that do not pay enough attention to human resource development.

It is in the above context that the decision by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to increase education expenditure to 20 per cent of the national budget and six per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has to be seen and appreciated.

This is indeed a forward-looking development initiative on the part of President Ali which will certainly propel the country’s already remarkable development to even greater heights. As the modernisation process picks up momentum, the need for a skilled and well-educated workforce becomes something of a national imperative.

Already, the country has been making spectacular achievements both in terms of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and the Caribbean Secondary School Examination (CSEC).This augers well in terms of the development of our human capital which is so vital for the modernisation process, especially in the context of the emerging oil and gas sub-sector.

Education is much more than a medium of economic development. At a much more fundamental level, education is a vehicle of empowerment which enhances an individual’s ‘lebenchances’ which is that ability to better navigate the challenges of life and living. People who are educated generally make better choices in life and are much more empowered to contribute to nation-building in more meaningful ways. It is a well-established fact that education plays a key role in the reduction of poverty and inequity in society, something which President Ali is passionate about.

As pointed out by the President, education is a core element of Guyana’s social transformation. Investments in education, he said, are aimed at unlocking the potential of our students to help them realise their aspirations, while enhancing the repository of skills available for national development.

It is significant that this commitment was made by President Ali at a high-level education summit of world leaders. Chairing a Roundtable Discussion on Education Transformation as part of the 77th United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York, President Ali committed Guyana to an inclusive education system, one that leaves no one behind.

Education has always been high on the PPP/Cs national agenda and is consistent both with the country’s National Development Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals which aims to ensure the provision of inclusionary and high quality education and the closing of attainment gaps in the education system. And while these gaps still remain, there is no doubt that robust measures are in place to reduce and eventually eliminate existing gaps.

The decision by President Ali to substantially increase the budgetary allocation to 20 per cent of the total national budget is a bold but necessary step, especially in the context of the modernisation processes currently underway. With significant inflows of oil revenues, more money will be available for national and sectoral development and education is a guaranteed beneficiary of such funding increases. This will certainly help to modernise the education delivery system by way of more trained teachers, a better learning environment, curricula reform and development, and greater opportunities for online learning. In short, the critical success factors in quality education delivery are now being better addressed.

President Ali and the PPP/C administration must be commended for the emphasis being placed on human development of which education is an important component. What we are in fact experiencing is the emergence of a knowledge society, one in which every citizen of Guyana will be provided with an opportunity to develop to the full limit of his or her potential.


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