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The Irfaan Ali regime has launched what they call a Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) Programme. According to them the programme aims to disburse 20,000 scholarships. They said there are over 80 specialties and five international universities identified to teach the courses. We need to know the names of these universities.
Whereas one man was lucky to pursue higher education, presenting false certification of attending a university that never existed, others may not be so lucky passing off the deception. Moreso, GOAL is being funded from the Consolidated Fund. This means that taxpayers’ money will be used to further the education of citizens, which I fully support, but taxpayers’ money must be subjected to management that upholds the principles of good governance.
Guyanese deserve to know why the funding for GOAL is not being invested in local education institutions but is being directed to foreign institutions. Workers need to know why the Government of Guyana is paying foreign institutions to hire and pay foreign workers to educate our 20,000 students when Guyanese are equally competent, and could be sourced here or in the diaspora, to provide such service.
Something is seriously wrong with any government that prefers to spend taxpayers’ money to hire and pay foreign educators/teachers/lectures to educate Guyanese from afar as our own are being told there is no money to pay them increased salary, invest in upgrading their skills, and better equip their schools. It is wickedness on the part of any government that would have local educators dig into their pockets to provide chalk and other basic teaching aids as they throw taxpayers’ money to foreigners. In the economic chain, local workers, businesses and families are being denied opportunities for upliftment.
The regime is saying the courses will equip Guyanese with skills to function in the oil and gas economy. They are deliberately ignoring that education should be part of the Local Content Policy. Money from GOAL should have been directed towards capacity building of the University of Guyana (U.G), the nation’s highest institution of learning. This would allow the university to not only attract new skills and train existing employees but expand its programmes, improve its labs and other educational/teaching techniques.
Money could also go towards the technical and trade schools such as Georgetown, Berbice and Essequibo Technical Institutes; the Guyana Industrial Training Centre; and the bauxite and sugar trade schools. These could be upgraded and retrofitted to provide oil and gas training and education. The regime said GOAL also targets students who didn’t complete secondary education. Guyana’s secondary education is fashioned from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Education system. Guyana is a member-state of CARICOM and is expected to adhere.
To have students complete a secondary education not in keeping with the Examination Council’s curriculum or similar national accredited certification presents challenges to further study at local institutions or seek employment. The Critchlow Labour College (CLC), for more than 40 years, has played a part in the national education thrust.
The CLC offers a second chance to complete CXC education and acquire qualifications to enter the world of work, business, training college, UG and other post secondary institutions but has been ignored. Robert Persaud, an alumnus, former minister and now Foreign Secretary remains a conscience prick for the regime. Thousands of CLC alumni are serving in Guyana and around the world, including in senior capacity. This remains the college’s sterling legacy and contribution to national development that the regime is seeking to stifle.
The Ali regime is failing to invest in local education institutions that would bring them on par with other reputable regional and international bodies. It is more cost effective to fund the local institutions and honour the state’s constitutional mandate to provide free education from nursery to university. If money could be found to finance 20,000 overseas scholarships, then there is enough money to finance the 5000 plus students, enrolled in the University of Guyana, to have free education and wipe off students’ debts.
GOAL is anti-patriotic in its posturing. It is designed to take bread out of the mouths of Guyanese. Our tax dollars are being used to deprive us in order to empower distant economies, businesses, workers and their families. The regime is giving away our money even as unemployment is soaring; university students are saddled with huge debts; the technical institutes, trade schools, university and college are being starved of requisite funding; and teachers/educators are being underpaid.
This regime, as any other, must be held to account for our money and the manner in which they treat us. We must demand answers to GOAL because it is a ‘goadie’ infected with deceitfulness. Today I call on the Members of Parliament to help us get answers and to hold the Ali regime to account. Let me say to those 20,000 students who will receive the scholarships- you deserve it because it is your and your parents’ tax dollars that will be spent. Moreso, you deserve a government that will invest more in local education institutions, wipe off students’ debts, hire and properly pay local workers to train and educate you.