- Students urged to use leadership skills to transform Guyana and the world
(August 29, 2022) – The participants of the Spark Programme that was launched in March presented the projects they worked on during the eight-week life of the initiative. The Spark Programme sought to introduce students to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
The programme is a product of the collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the LEAD Mindset, JASECI Labs and BCS Technology. The programme ran on two tracks, one that focused on developing the leadership and innovative mindset while the other exposed students to AI technology and coding.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson who delivered the keynote speech said that the initiative provided participants across various institutions with the opportunities to improve communication skills, build confidence levels, recognize innate leadership potential and utilize STEM skills to their developmental advantage.
He said, “The level of creativity, the application of problem-solving skills to real-world issues and the general exhibition of talent underscores the need for adequate preparation of our youth for these practical experiences.”
According to the CEO, the Ministry hopes that all the beneficiaries of the programme will completely internalize the deep significance and importance of the undertaking to their individual and collective development.
He thanked the partners who made the programme possible and called on all potential contributors with well-structured programmes that advance the work of the Ministry of Education to begin the required engagement to determine the viability of their initiatives.
Founder of the LEAD Mindset, Ms. Denise Hilliman
Founder of the LEAD Mindset, Ms. Denise Hilliman said that the Spark Programme is in the business of digital transformation through education innovation and more importantly, changing leadership mindsets as a means of making the art of innovation that is sustainable, and accessible to all.
She said that the world is changing, and technology is greatly accelerating those changes. However, she noted that there is a widening skills gap between the users of technology and the creators of technology which justified rolling out the Spark Programme. She said that following engagements with Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, three objectives were highlighted for the programme. These objectives were to equip young people with the skills to leverage technology to spark innovation and economic opportunities, equip young people with the leadership mindset to think outside the box and finally, to catalyze the Region economically by capturing and scaling locally sourced innovative ideas globally.
Director of NCERD, Ms. Quenita Walrond-Lewis
The Director of the National Centre for Educational Research Development (NCERD), Ms. Quenita Walrond-Lewis encouraged the participants to approach the future with a view where they can utilize their skills to become job creators as opposed to employers through their leadership and to change their generational trajectory.
“The kind of knowledge and competencies you would have learnt through this programme will shift your generational trajectory for those who will come after you. This will be a pathway to cycles of poverty being broken,” Ms. Walrond-Lewis noted.
The NCERD Director also asked the young people present to own their space as they take up leadership roles. “That space needs to be charged with so much positive energy that those around you can’t help but transform themselves.”
Meanwhile, General Manager and Director of Business Development of BCS Technology, Mr. Francis Cumberbatch stated that the vision of the partners to invest in the youth of Guyana is still alive. He said that it is important for Guyanese in the diaspora to return to the country and invest in its youth population so that they can be equipped to develop Guyana.
Each of the partners sponsored various prizes, some of which were awarded today. Under the Leadership in Education (LEAD Mindset), the most inspirational leadership presentation prize was awarded to a team of CPCE Students, Crystal Cramer, Joel Bunbury, Tagedevi Roopnarine, Deborah Darlington, Crystal Johnson, Grace Hutson, Junita Rampersaud. This prize consisted of US$150. The CPCE students were also awarded the prize for the most dedicated team on the leadership track. The prize for the most passionate student on the leadership track was awarded to Sarvesh Tahal of the New Amsterdam Secondary School who was given US$50.
The most outstanding student on the leadership track was awarded to Ms. Grace Hutson of CPCE who was given a laptop computer. The most promising influencer prize was awarded to Othniel Anthony of the Government Technical Institute and the best innovative AI project prize was awarded to the CPCE team for their ‘Home Work Helpers’ project. The most dedicated student prize was awarded to Tyrese Edwards of the Anna Regina Secondary School.
The remaining prizes that will be announced subsequently are for the best student on the AI track, the project that best leverages the JASECI Kit, the project with the highest commercialization potential and the prize for the project with the most intricate implementation.