The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Education, has launched the Guyana Skills Development and Employability Project. This venture is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The cost is US$12,252,000 (GUY$2.4B).
The institutions that will be targeted under this project are Fellowship Practical Instruction Centre (PIC), Region Three; Beterverwagting PIC, Region Four; Hopetown PIC, Region Five; St. Ignatius Secondary School, Region Nine; Bartica Secondary School, Region Seven; Mahdia Secondary School, Region Eight and North-West Secondary in Region One.
The aim of this project is to boost Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) in Guyana.
It will provide school leavers with the opportunity to attain and acquire the appropriate skills and competencies to successfully enter the job market, an economic enterprise or to pursue appropriate post-secondary education and training.
The project is the second of its kind in Guyana. Under the first project, the Leonora and Mahaicony Technical Training Centres and the Development of a Data, Records and Information Management System came into being. The current initiative has been described as ‘timely’ since it will answer a multitude of questions. This is according to Assistant Chief Education Officer (ag), Mr. Michael Turner.
“This project will answer the question of how to reduce the cost of access to TVET for young people completing secondary school and of course those unable because of learning or other impediments. These young people will now be able to develop skills and competencies in greater numbers because of the ease of access that will be afforded by Technical and Vocational Education being provided closer to home.”
Mr. Turner is of the view that Guyana must return to producing and maintaining the high level of skilled workers that are encouraged to remain as contributory citizens to Guyana’s economy; students that will not find it necessary to leave the country to gain better remuneration for the skills they have acquired.
CDB Portfolio Manager, Social Sector Division, Dr. Idamay P. Denny has said that the direction of the project coincides with the approach and strategic direction of the Bank. According to Dr. Denny, at the CDB’s recent Board of Directors meeting in October 2017, a new Education and Training Policy and Strategy was approved and linked in many ways to the region’s political priority of delivering sustainable employment, social parity and inclusive growth.
“In this regard, the Bank’s agenda is clear. As the leading multilateral development agency in the region, we will continue to work with our borrowing member countries to ensure that our people and their skills are at the heart of the region’s growth and development. This is our mission.”
Dr. Denny stated that since the beginning of the 21st Century, Guyana’s economy has experienced sustained growth and poverty levels have seen some decline. “To remain on this growth trajectory, the country has made a conscious decision to give the development of skills a much more explicit focus in its development strategy.”
This Skills Development and Employability Project is a Pilot Project, according to Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson. The initial exercise is expected to result in all students across the secondary sector to access skills training for the world of work or continuous lifelong education.
According to Mr. Hutson, the project will place Guyana’s secondary sector on parity with its counterparts in the Caribbean, thereby fulfilling the CARICOM TVET strategy of streamlining TVET in secondary schools, allowing students to leave school with a skills certificate, in addition to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).