Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 05 April 2021 23:56

Application process opens for online scholarships

The application process has opened for the first batch of participants in the “Guyana Online Learning Academy” (GOAL), where approximately 4,500 scholarships are expected to be awarded this year.

This first tranche offers scholarships across 84 different programmes from five different institutions. The programmes range from two to six months certificate courses that require no formal qualifications to master degree and post graduate diploma programmes that requires a bachelor degree for entry. The scholarships are part of the government’s overall promise to issue 20,000 online scholarships over the next five years. The scholarships are being offered through a collaboration between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Public Service (MoPS).

“The MoE is dealing with the technical aspects, but once that’s done, the applicants go to the [MoPS] for scholarships because we don’t give scholarships at education, we never have,” Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, explained in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Sunday. Persons can apply for programmes listed under the project by either dropping in a physical application to the MoPS at 164 Waterloo Street, or by submitting applications online at either or
A copy of the application was also published in the Guyana Chronicle on Sunday, and persons can cut and use those published applications. Applicants are required to submit a passport size photo, copies of their academic certificates and proof of identification, a motivational statement and a letter of support from someone in authority.

“We want to be able to offer training to persons who feel they need it without limiting that training to only persons who have been qualified or are qualified to traditionally enter the universities,” Manickchand said.
The universities where programmes are currently being offered include the University of the West Indies Open Campus, based in Barbados; the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) in Trinidad; the University of Applied Sciences (IUBH) in Germany; the Indira Gandi National Open University (IGNOU) in India and the JAIN “Deemed To Be” University, also based in India.

For UWI, a number of programmes specifically targeting teachers are being offered. These include a Certificate in Teaching of Readings and three different post graduate diplomas. Under USC, a Bachelor Degree in nursing, which requires applicants to be a registered nurse and a Bachelor Degree in Special Education, for which entry requires that the applicant be a current teacher, are being offered.
Under the IUBH, three-year Bachelor Degrees in four areas are being offered as well as two-year Master Degree programmes in four areas. According to its website, IUBH boasts that it is Germany’s largest University with a network of nearly 70,000 students and over 200 Bachelor’s, Master’s and MBA degree programmes.

Several short-time certificate courses and diploma programmes are being offered by the IGNOU as well as Bachelor Degree and post graduate diploma programmes. IGNOU is a government-owned university established in 1985 and named after the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The JAIN “Deemed To Be” University is a higher education institution located in Bangalore. In India, a “deemed to be” university is a higher education institution conferred with the status of university.
Minister Manickchand explained that though GOAL will only start off offering programmes at the listed institutions, plans are in the works for the institutions listed to be expanded.

“This is not an exhaustive list, this is a first go. We are working with other universities. We could even get courses from Harvard. But it comes down to costs. We picked universities where the costs will allow us to do multiple persons at the same time,” Minister Manickchand explained. She noted that Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed with the universities that have been listed thus far. Under the MoE, GOAL will be managed by MoE Special Projects Officer, Professor Jacob Opadeyi. The programme will have its own website and staffing. Given the work down, the ministry decided to begin taking in applications, even as it continues to work on the website. “We don’t want to wait until all of that is finished before we start asking people to apply. People can start applying now and we can start vetting so that when the classes do start, persons can go on. We have to do things simultaneously otherwise we would be wasting a lot of time,” Manickchand said.

Applicants will be awarded scholarships on their programmes of choice based on their acceptance into their programme by the institution. Emphasis is being placed on ensuring that GOAL will be made accessible to citizens in the hinterland regions, to ensure equal opportunity to all citizens. “This is a programme for Guyana and Guyanese all across the country, designed specifically for the people of this country to give them opportunities. We are going to make sure the programme is accessible,” the minister said, adding that “We are presently working now on determining how the students [in the hinterland villages] can access these programmes. Remember, it’s an online programme and they don’t have connectivity, so how are we doing that? So those are some of the things we are currently talking about and are trying to fix.”

Also speaking with the Guyana Chronicle, on Sunday, was Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, who noted that while some of the scholarships offered to public servants will form parcel of the scholarships under GOAL, the online academy is about providing a wider platform that goes beyond public service.
“We’re looking to gain human capital for the public sector and nationally as well; by doing so, we are providing these necessary and relevant fields of studies for persons to gain the necessary skill set. We have different categories that we are looking to award, such as the general public, the disciplinary services, and the public servants,” she said
She noted that while persons awarded scholarships will be required to give back to the country, in some cases persons will have to give back in the form of community service, and not necessarily through enlistment into the public service, as is the case customarily with public service scholarships.

“We are looking for persons who are coming to stay in the public service. But the MoPS has its usual budget for its usual awarding of scholarships in relations to what is necessary in the public sector,” Parag said.
She added: “It’s not going to be the very same conditions and requirements as with the normal scholarships through the MoPS, because this will be the wider public as well. It is more geared towards attaining a higher education, and so we are looking to do more community service in various forms to allow persons to give back to the country the necessary skill sets.”
She noted that the programme is about taking education across the country, in a holistic development of the nation’s human resource.
“Education is high on our list and attaining a higher education is a priority, and of course, we are looking to give equal opportunities across the country, in the different regions for persons who are financially unable to gain tertiary education,” she said.


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