The Essequibo Technical Institute (ETI) is one of two tertiary institutions on the Essequibo Coast, the other being a branch of the Guyana School of Agriculture. I have served as a member of the Board of Governors of ETI for a number of years and I have seen the transformation of the institute from being a curious centre of learning to a very important institution which advances careers. Several graduates are now young professionals employed in both the public and private sectors, while others have been confident enough to establish their own businesses. While the institute came out of a demand from the population of Essequibo, given the high cost of acquiring a technical education in Georgetown, providing suitably qualified staff, resource and learning material, accommodation and approved courses were all challenges that had tested the ETI. Today the institute boasts a comprehensive list of courses, with the majority of staff being qualified and including university graduates among their number.
It is also to the students’ benefit that the government invested in the establishment of a dormitory on campus, which significantly enhanced the student population and also afforded opportunities to those from the outlying areas such as Wakenaam, Bartica, Tapakuma and the Pomeroon River. I have been particularly impressed with the private sector and ETI bilateral relationship that offers employment to graduates who have had attachments to the various firms during their periods of practical experience. It would lead to an improvement in discipline, punctuality and the professional conduct of students knowing that their future employment can be guaranteed once they succeed. Lecturers are also required to upgrade their status and attend workshops, an emphasis that the Principal, Mr Michael Turner insists on. The general environment has also improved with more spacious and ventilated classrooms, and machinery the lack of which had previously been an impediment to practicals, as well as sufficient computers.
There is also a playfield to cater for the recreational activities of both staff and students, some of whom are extremely talented athletes in various disciplines. This was evident when the ETI football team performed outstandingly in a just concluded senior football tournament, while there are also a number of national youth cricketers attending the institute including Mark Tyrell, Mark Gonsalves and Herry Greene, among others. The institute also brought first in the junior category of the public Mashramani celebrations on February 23. I therefore wish to commend the management and staff, including the new Board of Governors under the Chairmanship of Mr Bayney Persaud for continuing to enrich the lives of students academically, culturally and through sport, since I believe that the institute has become a model for consistently producing technically sound individuals who are prepared for the world of work.