Is this a slight-of-hand reintroduction of national service for the beneficiaries of scholarships?

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Dear Editor,

I refer to my letter of April 24 re the Government`s 20,000 Scholarships, the response by Dr. Jacob Opedayi, and Kaieteur News’s elevation of the exchange to an article in their April 25, 2021 edition. Both the response and the article gives credence to the concerns that I expressed in my original letter, notwithstanding some snide remarks in Dr. Opeyadi`s response. It is not my intention to address the snide remarks less that distracts from the attention that my concerns have and should attract; and the importance of the matter.

In the response, to my letter, Dr. Opedayi indicates that there will be no bonding of the awardees. He contends that I was inaccurate in suggesting that the awardees would be bonded. I am therefore attaching my source of that information, a screen shot of the publication: “The Government Of Guyana 20,000 Scholarships For Online Learning” on the Ministry of Public Service website, where under the caption: “Why A Scholarship?”, the third bullet reads:” Job Security – graduates are bounded by contract and are guaranteed a job within the public sector after completing studies” (sic). Instead of the snide remarks, Dr. Opedayi should correct what according to him would be false and misleading information as is on the website to which I have referred. He went on to indicate that the awardees would be required to give community service during the duration of their studies. This disclosure raises a number of questions apart from its propriety, and administrative concerns.

  1. Is the Government going to invest billions of dollars in scholarships without any guarantee of the Nation benefitting from what be must considered a human resource development initiative?
  2. What mechanisms will be established to ensure that the Nation benefits from this massive outlay of capital or are we embarking on another phase of financing human resource development for the benefit of other countries?
  3. Is this a slight-of-hand reintroduction of national service for the beneficiaries of scholarships?

Dr. Opedayi also dismissed my concern about the congruence of these scholarships will the development of our professions. Here my specific reference is to the Teaching Profession. Our Teaching Profession requires teacher training and its certification as is done by authorized institutions (the teacher training institutions and UG) yet the scholarships as advertised caters to persons who are not qualified teachers. Dr. Opedayi however refers to the training as professional development when the beneficiaries, based on the advertisements, are not necessarily members of the teaching profession.

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Opedayi`s response clearly indicates that the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) will be assuming a human resource development function which has been traditionally undertaken by the Public Service Ministry. What is not clear is whether GOAL with only deal with the identification of online resources and the management of the online scholars or will the entire function of human resource development and training, in particular, be undertaken by GOAL to the exclusion of the Public Service Ministry?

The Public Service Department pre 2020 had development an approach to identifying national human resource needs and the matching and available training opportunities. A software was development to aid in that process. Has that baby been thrown out with the bath water or has the valuable resource been harnessed?

By previous questions were described as groping but here I am again asking pertinent questions, which in my view can only aid in the thought process that should be guiding  the development of any programme such as the 20,000 Scholarship Programme, and GOAL.

 

Yours sincerely

Vincent Alexander



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