─ at launch of GOAL in Paradise, Melanie
Minister of Labour, Hon. Joseph Hamilton says the Government’s 20,000 online scholarships programme will not disrupt persons way of life as it can be done from the comfort of their homes. The Minister said the Government has taken this approach to providing quality, tertiary education so that a wide-cross section of people can benefit.
The Minister made these statements when he launched the programme at Paradise and Melanie Damishana villages, East Coast Demerara on Wednesday afternoon. He encouraged the residents to seize the opportunity to learn and to encourage their peers to do the same.
“Try to encourage people to utilise the opportunity presented to them, free online scholarship programme that will not disrupt your life because those that are working, you can still continue to do your work, those that are managing your homes you can still continue to do it,” he said.
Minister Hamilton said the programme is available to every Guyanese from all geographic locations and is in no way age or gender biased. He said there was a time when rural areas in Guyana was spoken of negatively because of their lack of opportunities. However, he noted, those communities persevered with the knowledge that education was the driving force out of poverty.
“What sustained country-people is the fact that we were taught that what would take you out of poverty is education, that is what sustained us.
Regardless of which village you belong to, regardless who were your parents, the conversation consistently was the way for you to get out of poverty was via education.”
He said it is incumbent upon the Government to ensure that it provides the relevant opportunities to allow Guyanese to build and re-establish their academic portfolios, so that they too could create a better life for themselves and families.
Further, he noted that it is a key responsibility for every generation to ensure that the generation that comes after it is better equipped to capitalise on opportunities to enhance their lives and livelihoods.
Minister Hamilton said the programmes will also allow retirees to be re-trained and re-skilled to continue providing their services to society. He said the programme caters to the needs of all Guyanese, noting that there are start-up courses that could be taken to develop their skill set, which will allow them to enter the degree programmes.
While the Government is hoping to distribute some 4,500 scholarships this year, the Minister noted that this is only the beginning of the Government’s commitment in offering the 20,000 scholarships over the five-year period as outlined in its manifesto.
Prospective student, Mr. Roy Stewart lauded the initiative, and said that it will give Guyanese the ability to educate and empower themselves to become assets of the country.
“I would like to say that it is a very pertinent initiative, whereby our citizens can be empowered, and more so they have a chance, everyone has a chance to live that dream of educating themselves, empowering themselves because I believe that one dream would be much more realised when they are educated.
… However, I would advise any person to take hold of the opportunity of educating themselves so that they may be empowered, and so that they can be an asset to Guyana and I am thanking those who are the helms of this initiative and I trust that everyone would grab this opportunity and enhance their lives through education,” he said.
Over 3,500 applications are currently being processed by the Guyana Online Academy of Learning. Prospective scholars are urged to submit their applications before the May 22 deadline.