Twenty-eight youth graduated in the final batch of the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Information and Technology programme for 2010.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the class, comprising students from Bath Settlement, Region Five received their certificate of completion at a simple ceremony held at the Regional Democratic Council boardroom at Fort Wellington, West Berbice on Tuesday. Students participated in a six-week training exercise which included topics such as Introduction to Microsoft Office and Computer Repairs, and they were evaluated by their trainers while undergoing job training.
In her address to the youths, Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster urged them to continue to pursue their education.
“It is quite significant that among today’s graduating class, we have approximately 24 young women; this is commendable. I think that this shows that women are recognizing that they need to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to them to enable them to empower themselves.”
She also challenged the young men to take advantage of the available opportunities and she urged them to pursue higher levels of learning.
BNTF falls under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. It is a Government of Guyana, Caribbean Development Bank and Canadian International Development Agency funded programme that targets unemployed young people and single parents. All of its projects are conducted in line with the government’s ICT strategy which is geared at providing youth with additional training in Information Technology.
The minister noted that the Bath community exercise was conducted at a cost of $7M and it provided computers, accessories and network equipment to participants during the programme. Government plans, early next year, to bring to fruition President Bharrat Jagdeo’s initiative of one laptop per family.
According to GINA, for the year 2010, the BNTF programme trained about 190 youth countrywide and donated 90 computers to the various training centres. Project Manager Michael Singh said the agency also supplied these centres with the relevant equipment, tools and staff so that the persons within the targeted communities would have access to all of its services, at a nominal fee.
In addition to their skills training exercise, the BNTF also undertakes infrastructural works around Guyana; funds the construction of wells in several rural areas, forestry projects and the transmission and distribution of lines as well as their installation. Guyana receives a significant portion of the overseas funding allocated to assist Caribbean countries with various educational programmes.