President David Granger yesterday announced that he will re-establish the Guyana Youth Corps on January 1, 2018, to empower the nation’s youth.
A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the Head of State made this announcement at the Graduation Ceremony for 57 young people, who completed Module Two of the Youth Leadership Training Programme at the Madewini Training Centre.
The release said that the Guyana Youth Corps was first established on January 1, 1968 as a means of solving the youth unemployment problem. It functioned for seven years during which time, approximately 1,200 youth benefitted from the programme.
The release said that the Youth Corps was then absorbed by the National Service on January 1, 1975, which itself was dismantled in 2000.
“It will be the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the first Guyana Youth Corps and I will bring together some of the agencies, which are just nibbling at the edges of our youth enterprise in Guyana…so that young people, who might have faced challenges in their education can voluntarily come in and learn skills and prepare themselves for the world of work… so that we give our young people an opportunity. This will take place in the hinterland and the coastland,” the President said.
The President said that such a move is vital to ensuring youth empowerment in Guyana and added that a good education is fundamental to reducing youth unemployment.
“I want to see a [country] of fuller employment, of greater empowerment, of wider equality and of progress for the young people of this country… I look forward to the establishment of the Guyana Youth Corps when we can move thousands of children out of poverty and into prosperity,” he said.
Granger commended the graduates for reaching this stage of the Youth Leadership Training Programme, and said that this signals that they have now taken a step forward toward achieving Government’s vision of the good life. He also acknowledged that there are many challenges facing young people.
“We have to deal with these challenges facing Guyanese society because you are the future of Guyana. My generation has to prepare this country for you and when your turn comes you have to do the same to bequeath this great country to your children and grandchildren,” he said.
More importantly, the President said, young people between the ages of 15-25 comprise about one third of the country’s population. “This is an important group for me because if you don’t make it successfully through that 10 year gap, it means that your prospects of having that good life would be severely impaired… That is why I am so concerned about giving children equal access to education. We have to do something about those 250,000 young people. Those are the young people of Guyana and those are the people who concern me most” he said, according to the release.
Critics have said that the government’s decision to impose VAT on private education runs counter to the President’s emphasis on education for youths.
Shavez Hendricks, who hails from the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), was reported in the press release as saying that he believes that the hosting of such programmes is one of the best ways of investing in young people in order to groom them to be leaders.
Hadeeya Asgar from Lethem, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), said that the Programme helped to teach her good leadership skills and the lessons learned will enable her to motivate young people in her community.