NATI turns 50

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Some happy students

—-proud of its achievements; fully charged for reaching greater heights in the years ahead

The New Amsterdam Technical Institute in New Amsterdam Region 6 (East Berbice/ Corentyne) during November 15th to 20th celebrated 50 years of imparting technical and vocational education to thousands of youths in east and west Berbice.

“We at NATI are proud of our achievements over the past fifty years and are all fully charged up with our vision for propelling the institution to even greater heights in the years ahead,” Senior Staff Member Mrs Jenis Archibald Hazel said last week.

In an address on November 15th to mark the occasion, Principal Mr. Ravi Chand disclosed that when it opened its doors to the first batch of students on November 15th 1971, NATI offered courses in Fitting and Sheet metal, Welding, Automotive, Agricultural mechanic, concrete masonry and Commercial subjects.

Coconut Tree planting

Since then and over these 50 years, he disclosed, NATI has moved from strength to strength, not just adding buildings to its sprawling ten acre complex, but moving from ten programs in 1971 to its current curriculum of twenty two courses in thirteen occupational areas and moving to add four more,

Graduates, are now equipped with skills such as agricultural machinery repairs and maintenance, , electrical installation, internal combustion engines, mechanical fitting, metal machining, motor vehicle electrical systems, motor vehicle work, radio and electronics servicing, welding, bricklaying and concreting and carpentry.

Other NATI graduates secure certificates in plumbing and diplomas in administrative principles and practices, commerce, and computer science.

In 2018 NATI signed an agreement to become a member of the Higher Education Consortium on Engineering and Mining (HECEM)..

HECEM fosters and promotes academic collaboration to explore and develop new curricula and joint programs in addressing the national development needs in Engineering and the Oil and Gas sector.

Mechanical and Building workshops

A year ago, In association with oil giant EXXON Mobil students commenced training for qualifications in welding and electrical engineering in keeping with the high standards for such occupations required by the oil and gas industry.

On successfully completing this two year program with a curriculum provided by EXXON Mobil, graduates will have qualified themselves for employment with that company.

Innovativeness has also been a hallmark over the years.

For example all major repairs and maintenance of the buildings in the NATI Complex are done by Staff and Students under contracts from the Ministry of Education.

The Staff and students carry out the works in their spare time, mainly weekends, NATI retains 30% of the labor Contract sum and the remaining 70% is divvied up between the Staffers and students.

“In this way technical Staff with some time on their hands get an extra income and the students earn while they learn,” Mrs Hazel disclosed.

NATI boasts that quite a few of its full time and part-time Staffers including Heads of Departments, are former students/ alumni.

In his address on the 50th anniversary Mr Ravi Chand disclosed that records revealed that on 22nd of November 1965, the Ministry of Education Youth and Race relations issued warrant #91*65A for a sum of $300 to survey a parcel of land North of Queenstown in New Amsterdam, so that an area of 10 acres can be allotted for a proposed junior technical college.

The site chosen was described at the time as being “in a fashionable part of New Amsterdam” and would help to boost the prestige of Technical Education.

In that same year Chand disclosed, Mr. William Partin, a Canadian expert in technical education drew up plans for a complex of buildings to be called the New Amsterdam technical Institute. It would offer courses in Fitting and Sheet metal, Welding, Automotive, Agricultural mechanic, concrete masonry and Commercial subjects.

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Canada was approached for the assistance and on the 2nd of April 1968, a memorandum was signed between the Government of Guyana and Canada for a vocational school.

Canada provided a sum not exceeding $600,000 Canadian dollars or 1.7 million Guyana dollars, while Guyana would provide $480,000 for this project.

The architectures were J.P Thompson Associates of Ontario While the contractor was GIFCO contracting compa

ny limited of New Brunswick.

On November 15th 1971, New Amsterdam Technical Institute opened its door for the first batch of students, two hundred and sixty-four to be exact, under the principalship of Cde Olsen Carter who was also second in charge of overseeing this project.

That same year (1971) Mr. Errol Alphonson, Mayor of New Amsterdam said “New Amsterdam technical Institute was second to none”

With a Staff of seventy full time and part time lecturers and enrolment of three hundred students, New Amsterdam technical institute is governed by a board of governors which is headed by Mr. Mark Roomparine.

The Institute also has a very dedicated and hard-working alumni out of Canada (NATIAA)led by Mr. Louis Adams, that provides much needed resources.

Mr Chand paid tribute to past principals Mr. Olesen Carter, Mr. Allan Monroe, Mr. Claude Gishard, Mr. John Cummings, Mr. Ronald Simon and Mr. Patrick Onwuzirike and the first and only female appointed principal thus far, Mrs. Maxene Thompson.

The week of observances from November 15th to November 21st, started with an Inter- Faith service on November 15th.

Other commemorative activities included a blood drive with a donation target of fifty pints of blood from students and staffers, a coconut tree planting exercise in the compound, a greet the sun walk and community outreaches by students and staff

In marking the occasion, Mr Ravi Chand stressed: “Technical education is the wheel that drives any economy forward. We envision New Amsterdam Technical Institute as a catalyst for development, relevant educated, entrepreneurial and employable individuals whose collective energy will be the driving force for prosperity and the quality of life in our diverse communities.” .

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