Guyana’s Education Month is a celebration of the nation’s young people. It aims to promote learning and importance the importance of education, not just on an individual level, but in terms of benefiting society as a whole.
In this article, we take a closer look at the initiative and the government’s plans to improve access to education and make it available to all. We will also learn about the role GBTI plays in helping young people to save and access
Education Month is celebrated with activities across Guyana.
International Literacy Day, which is organized by the United Nations to improve worldwide literacy rates, falls during Guyana’s Education Month. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes literacy as a fundamental right for all. It provides a solid foundation for learning, improves wellbeing and livelihoods, and drives sustainable, inclusive development. Members of the Guyanese government celebrated by reading books.
Other events staged in Guyana during the 2019 Education Month included a panel discussion on STEAM in Education; a mural painting at the Kingston Seawalls; the National Spelling Bee; a debating competition in Region 7; a Special Needs Sports Day at Linden’s McKenzie Sports Complex; and a Music and Drama Festival.
The government has declared 2020-2029 Guyana’s “Decade of Development.”
President David Granger has announced plans for the government to utilize oil wealth to build on the foundations of educational developments that have been achieved over the past four years. Since 2015, the government’s emphasis on investing in Guyana’s education sector has started producing impressive results.
In 2019, Guyana saw improvements in all regions. Its accomplishments included the highest pass percentage in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, as well as significant improvement in National Grade Six Assessment Mathematics results.
Education is key to national development.
If education fails, so does the nation, explained Dr. Nicolette Henry, Guyana’s Minister of Education, speaking at the launch of Education Month 2019. In a speech at the opening ceremony, Dr. Henry explained that the government had increased education funding by more than 15 percent since 2018, with more than $52.2 billion allocated in 2019.
She explained that this investment is crucial to the development of Guyana. It will provide the nation’s young people with the knowledge, skills and wherewithal to realize their full potential. Education will enable them to find solutions to the problems people face in day-to-day life.
Education Month promotes equal opportunities in access to education.
Addressing the media, President David Granger pledged to make Guyana an “education nation.” President Granger explained that providing the nation’s children with a comprehensive education will not only help them, it will also advance society as a whole. Education helps people transform resources into riches. This drives employment opportunities and ultimately contributes to the economy.
Providing student transportation such as school boats through the Public Education Transport Service has increased school attendance. It has also led to significant savings for parents. President Granger explained that Education Month 2019 was particularly important as a pathway to helping Guyana’s young people develop the skills they need to succeed.
Education is a lifeline, enabling individuals to escape poverty; helping people of all demographics to climb the socio-economic ladder. Today, it is seen as a fundamental human right.
President Granger acknowledged there was a time in Guyana where only the so-called “brightest child” could pursue an education, with girls kept back. Those in poverty either did not see the necessity of education, or simply could not afford it. He explained that this exacerbated elitism, and ultimately, discrimination.
President Granger said that knowledge is power. When the nation’s young people feel so empowered, the sky really is the limit. Education is not just for the privileged few. It is a right of all Guyanese, helping not just the individual but Guyanese society as a whole.
GBTI has implemented a number of education initiatives.
Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GTBI) stages Bursary Awards annually in order to concurrently celebrate savings and education. The initiative provides bursaries to 15 of the bank’s Early Savers who pass the National Grade Six Assessment examinations.
In 2018, Naila Rahaman achieved a perfect score in the exam, earning her a place at Queen’s College. Other successful candidates included Virenda Dookie, Mariah Ellis, Brendon Prince, Sameya Khan, Malina Khan, Deviani Ram, Jazzmin Roopchand, Sayid Stuart, Ziya Haniff, Mikayla Hamer, Elijah Rajak, Joel Benjamin, Tiffany Regis, and Mohammad Baksh.
Speaking at the 2018 GTBI Bursary Awards, Owen Pollard, Assistant Chief Education Officer, emphasized the importance of students remaining focused in this new chapter of their educational journeys. Mr. Pollard commended GBTI for recognizing these talented young people and expressed admiration that the students’ parents had encouraged them to save from an early age.
The Early Savers scheme promotes saving from childhood, rewarding good saving habits. Every year, GBTI awards three young savers, incentivizing them and other young savers to continue to implement effective saving strategies. Prizes range from tricycles to tablets, to a cash prize of a thousand Guyanese dollars. GBTI also implement a week long summer program annually for Early Savers Club Members.