Schools in the hinterland are being prepared to offer Technical Vocational Education (TVET) to meet the needs of their communities and projected economic expansion.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) funded initiative has several components. including meeting the emergent demand for a workforce with specialised skills, in the newly established hinterland 20170131

“This is to ensure that there are sufficient skills to help the towns grow and to maintain some of their services and activities,” Deputy Chief Education Officer, with responsibility for technical education, Patrick Chinedu Onwuzirike, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) in a recent interview.

The institutions targeted for the interventions are, North West, Mahdia, Bartica and St. Ignatius Secondary Schools in the hinterland and the Fellowship, Beterverwagting and Hopetown, Practical Instructional Centers (PICs) on the coastland, Onwuzirike said.

It has been determined that five specific skill subjects would be offered at each school.

Onwuzirike explained that this was arrived at following consultations with the respective communities. “When we went to them (the people in the communities) there was actually about 10 areas that they wanted us to concentrate on, but at the meetings we were emphatic that they need to tell us the five most important critical areas, that they believe would have that most economic benefit to their town,” Onwuzirike explained.

The technical subjects to be taught at the schools are in line with the avenues for developing enterprises within the communities, Onwuzirike said. He pointed out that the residents in St Ignatius were adamant that one of the skills must be leather crafting, so that the residents can make use of the hides of the cows that are currently being reared in the Rupununi.

The residents of Bartica and North West have expressed interest in outboard engine training, given the many riverine communities, in the region, Onwuzirike said. Other training areas identified include those in electrical works, furniture making, welding and commercial food preparation, Onwuzirikeadded.

One of the goals of the programme is the training of persons from within the actual communities. “We do not have this problem of having to send teachers to the interior to train, so there is strong communication with the communities, the stakeholders, to gain their support, to gain their buy-in in on this project so at least at the end of the day it becomes their own project,”Onwuzirike said.

Actual classes for the programme are not expected to start until 2020 or 2021. However, over the course of the next three years, the ministry’s focus will be on developing facilities, workshops, laboratories and the training of the teachers, for the delivery of the programme.

In November of 2016, the government of Guyana received US$12.3 Million (G$2.5Billion) from the CDB to enhance the TVET education system in Guyana.

The project covers enhancing the TVET teaching and learning environment; improving the quality, relevance and effectiveness of TVET instruction; strengthening capacity within the sub-sector; and enhancing second-chance opportunities for at-risk and unskilled learners.