…as $186M Hinterland Students Dormitory commissioned at Liliendaal
His Excellency President David Granger today said that the education system in Guyana is now moving on the correct path and is being accorded the highest priority.
The President made this pronouncement at the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs’ commissioning ceremony of the $186M Tertiary Students’ Dormitory for Hinterland Students located at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
It was noted by His Excellency that more than G$170B has been expended on education over the past four years. He said, “Spending in the education sector has moved from 14.8 per cent of the national budget in 2014 to 17.0 per cent in 2017. Improvements, steady and sure, have been evident over the past four years.”
The President said that the establishment of the tertiary education dormitory which can accommodate 120 students attests to government’s commitment to improving educational opportunities for hinterland students.
“It reflects our intention to ensure a more equal society by reducing the disparities between the hinterland and coastland through education. We want to create a more equal society”, His Excellency remarked.
He noted that the Government of Guyana wants to ensure that hinterland residents can enjoy similar public services such as birth registration, business registration, public education, public health, public infrastructure, public security and social security as citizens on the coastland. He said that the new facility will ensure a more conducive environment for hinterland students attending the University of Guyana and other tertiary institutions.
According to the President, the government’s investment in education is due to the fact that it has recognised that education is a great equaliser. He said that education is the key to unlocking increased economic opportunities for citizens, “It is the surest path to empowering and listing persons out of poverty and marginalization”.
It was further highlighted by the Head of State that Guyana’s education policy emphasizes the three ‘A’s – Access, Attendance and Attainment. However, the President said that today’s commissioning adds a fourth ‘A’ – Accommodation.
He said, “Accommodation is being improved by the provision of accommodation for students. Dormitories have been constructed at 19 locations in nine regions. These dormitories allow more hinterland students to benefit from educational services.”
Additionally, His Excellency noted that access to education for hinterland students is being facilitated through the provision of government-supported scholarships which provide opportunities for hinterland students to enjoy secondary and tertiary education.
He said, “The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has increased the number of hinterland scholarships from 120 in 2014 t0 186 in 2018. Hinterland students, also, have been among the beneficiaries of the 1,599 tertiary-level scholarships offered by the Department of the Public Service since 2015.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Dr. the Hon. Nicolette Henry said that the new dormitory will contribute in a large way to making Guyana a better place. She said that the facility will provide tremendous opportunities for those students whose geographic location limited their chances of pursuing their dreams of higher education.
She said that the building is in alignment with the government’s vision of making education more accessible and affable to disadvantaged, vulnerable and traditionally marginalized groups.
Further, Minister Henry noted that from 2015 to now Guyana’s education sector is in a different place.
“I am on record to say and I will repeat again in 2014 we saw an education sector in crisis. The majority of our students in the hinterland were struggling to get through and satisfy the exit requirements for nursery, primary and secondary schools. Today I am pleased to say that we have begun the process of turning things around,” Minister Henry noted.
Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs and Fourth Vice-President, Hon. Sydney Allicock in his address said that the new facility comes under the Hinterland Education Support Programme.
He said that the dormitory will allow for more additional human resources in technical fields such as agriculture, medicine and engineering. Minister Allicock said that the government has embarked on the Green State economy for a good life and that through education, Guyana will realise that dream.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe said that the dormitory will allow for economic and social transformation of indigenous communities. She said that the government has been allocating more resources towards human capital development to train more indigenous youths in various academic areas.
According to Minister Garrido-Lowe, the 215 hinterland communities across Guyana have been waiting to show what they can do given the access to resources and this dormitory is a step in that direction.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Mr. Alfred King noted that the dormitory will allow students at the secondary level to pursue higher education. He said that the project was well justified and was officially completed on March 3, 2019. He said that the facility has internet access provided by the eGovernment Department and in a few months will be equipped with a hub which will facilitate an eLibrary.
The building was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Charles Davidson, Bishop of Guyana who also blessed the President on 74th Birth Anniversary celebrated today.