The Hinterland Scholarship Division of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs held an awards ceremony at the Amerindian Village, Sophia last week, to honour students who had completed their secondary and technical education.
In his charge to the graduates Liaison Officer at the ministry Norman Whittaker told the students that their parents, guardians, teachers and the government invested in them and their results are the returns on the investment. “There is much you can do for your community, your region, even your country. It is not beyond you, you can help make Guyana a better country in which to live. See this as a stepping stone to being productive adults,” he said.
Whittaker told the graduates that one journey has ended and another begun and though they will experience both successes and failures in the future, the skills they learnt in school will help them to cope. However, he cautioned them against believing that they have “arrived”, adding, “humility is an important thing you can never have too much of.” He then congratulated them, and in closing said, “Challenges will come and go but continuous education and training and life’s experience are the major tools you’ll have to meet these challenges.”
In September 2009, 53 students from regions one, two four, seven, nine and ten were given Hinterland Scholarship Awards to attend secondary schools in Georgetown after they gained 470 or more marks at the National Grade Assessments. Twelve other students were also given scholarships for technical training in Georgetown and Essequibo. Training was done at the Government Technical Institute, Guyana Industrial Centre and Carnegie School of Home Economics.
According to senior social worker Rosamund Daly, last year 35 students wrote the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations with an 89.1% pass rate, an increase from the year before. However, she said that of the 53 students who were granted scholarships two of the girls opted to return to their hinterland homes, one left the country with her father and one boy was expelled.
In his brief address on behalf of the Ministry of Education Edward Jarvis, Coordinator of the Education for All/Fast Track Initiative (EFA/FTI) programme said that there has been an improvement in the quality of education hinterland students receive but noted that a significant gap exists between the coastal and hinterland areas. However, he noted that the ministry remains committed to giving even one child a chance at secondary education. He then congratulated the students, telling them that what they did with their achievements now will decide its worth.
Several officials from the ministry including Permanent Secretary Colin Croal joined parents and guardians at the ceremony. The graduates were given certificates for participating in the programme. Awards for consistent academic performance, best all rounder, most improv-ed and best behaved students were also given out.