Guyana is on course to develop a thriving oil and gas industry. However in recognition of the fact that this industry is new and very different from what Guyanese have been involved in, there is need for strategic preparation.
This was the observation of Minister of Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry, as she addressed a forum which saw the Education Ministry signing an agreement with the Organisation of American States [OAS] to fund a technical and vocational education programme.
Speaking of the OAS support yesterday, Minister Lawrence noted, “we have to prepare our people to manage and manage well the resources so that will feed into that broader picture.”
The OAS is expected to see the sum of US$83,000 [approximately G$16.6 million] being injected into the Ministry of Education to facilitate training in the area of technical and vocational education as well as occupational health and safety, according to Chief Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Marcel Hutson.
The CEO, also, speaking at the signing forum yesterday said, “If we are really going to be productive and do what we want to do as a Ministry in keeping with our vision, this money will take us a long way.”
The Education Ministry, according to Hutson, is keen on promoting technical and vocational education since “we recognise that technical and vocational education in any society is the engine of growth and therefore we are cognizant of the fact that we need to pay keen attention on how we move this particular sector forward.”
Hutson noted, too, that the OAS has been a critical partner in terms of the education delivery process and “we really want to commend their efforts even as they continue to stand by our side as we move the education process forward.”
Moreover, Minister Henry in expressing her appreciation for the OAS support, informed that Government is fully aware that the development of the country is entirely hinged on the development of the people and thus the Education Ministry is the key to ensuring the needed transformative shift in terms of sustainable development.
She noted that it was long recognised that several initiatives would be required to include bilateral partnerships. “We are extremely grateful, and I believe fortunate to have the support of international agencies like OAS that can support the work that we are doing here.
I know that this agreement and funding is targeting technical and vocational skills development both at secondary and the post secondary level so I know this will be very impactful in terms of the development of our youth population,” said Minister Henry.
This is particularly important she note, since there are occasions when greater focus is directed to mainstream academic, a situation that causes many students who have the aptitude for technical and vocational education to fall off the radar.
“For this particular reason, the signing of the agreement and the injection of this sum is important and will serve as an impetus to move the technical and vocational programme for the Ministry, Government and the people of Guyana moving forward,” said Minister Henry.
Even an OAS Country Representative, Jean Ricot Dormeus, committed continued support to the education sector, he disclosed that the OAS has in place the very important pillar of sustainable development which has education as a main component. Guyana has already been benefitting over the years from the education component, which entails a scholarship programme. Dormeus added that the OAS has also developed several cooperation programme too. Understandably, the agreement inked yesterday will expand the OAS support to Guyana, which according to the Dormeus falls under the umbrella of quality, inclusive and equitable education which is being promoted by the Development Cooperation Fund managed by OAS.
“Our organisation wants to bring all the member states together to promote not only a democracy, we are strong on that, but [also] human rights, security and sustainable development because we know our people need good jobs and with good technical and vocational education they will be able to secure those jobs and even set up their business in the future so that our countries improve and grow their economies,” said the OAS Representative. He is moreover hopeful that the execution of the programme will help Guyana to move forward in having well qualified people to help push the economy forward.
Signing the agreement into effect yesterday were Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Vibert Welch, and Director of the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Vanessa Dickenson.
Following the affixing of signatures, the agreement was ceremonially handed over to Minister Henry by Dormeus.
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