Current and prospective recipients of scholarships, as well as public servants desirous of academic and professional training will now be able to better access new and existing opportunities with the introduction of a scholarship website.
The website can be found at www.dps.gov.gy/scholarships .
The website was unveiled yesterday at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) by the Department of the Public Service in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of the Presidency and other resource persons.
Designed and managed by thestaff of the Department of the Public Service of the Ministry of the Presidency, the website will essentially make training opportunities better accessible to all Guyanese.
Also included on the website, is a handbook compiled to better assist potential and current recipients with information relating to scholarships and the use of the website in general. The website will be available to the general public from tomorrow.
Head of ICT at NCERD, Dr. Marcia Thomas commenting on the features of the website highlighted that it will display real time information, compliments of a webmaster hired by the Ministry to update the site daily and that acceptance letters will also be uploaded to the site for individual viewing by successful applicants.
In addition, once an individual has registered on the website, he or she would have the benefit of being notified of any new scholarship or training opportunity for which they have the qualifications, while the Department will be able to better monitor international students and ensure that they are in compliance with the terms and conditions of their scholarship.
“That’s one of the most important features, you don’t have to reapply every time you’re looking for a new scholarship, and as you update your CV it makes you more eligible,” Dr. Thomas shared.
Meanwhile, NCERD’s Planning and Analysis Manager, Kandasia Kendall shared with those gathered the reasons for the integration of technology in the scholarship administration process.
Kendall, in her remarks said, “More and more Guyanese are given the opportunity to attend the University of Guyana, The Guyana School of Agriculture, and the University of the West Indies and Universities all over the world to pursue their dreams of higher education, and the Department of Public Service remains committed in ensuring … the access of training opportunities to Guyanese found throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. It is therefore against this backdrop that the need to make training opportunities available through the Department accessible online becomes apparent. Notwithstanding the hard work by the scholarship administration team over the years to achieve the Department’s vision. It is hoped that the move towards online applications will increase awareness on what is available.”
“The website you are about to see is a work in progress and what you see today will continue to be updated and transformed to meet the needs of our applicants. We are still working but by the end of this month we would have made all the necessary adjustments to ensure that the website we created, is one that Guyanese deserve,” she added.
Speaking on behalf of the absent Minister of the Public Service, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Education, Vincent Alexander delivered the feature address, during which he described the launch of the website as a path to good governance.
“This website and the accompanying handbook is an important aspect of good governance from two perspectives; from the perspectives of the entitlement that we are seeking to ensure Guyanese are benefitting from and from the perspective of the delivery of services to Guyanese. Transparency does not work when there is no openness; Transparency needs to see the application and the objective criteria process and how the entitlement is delivered and so what we are seeing today is also an attempt to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the work by the department all of that of which is a part of good governance,” Alexander said.
“What we see today is a necessary movement for our country to move forward; not only does it take our country further into the twenty-first century with technology, it takes our country further into the modern world in terms of good governance,” he added.
Following on the lines of good governance and transparency, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson went on to describe the establishment of such a website as a “catalyst of transparency.”
“The Department took the lead to get it right, the journey of the data gathering exercise then positioned us to rearrange and fix the jigsaw puzzle of our former poorly administered system to one of hope, inspiration and tremendous expectation,” he added.
Important to note however, is that the Department of Public Service will not completely dispense with the manual system, since there are still some kinks to be worked out, one of which is the difficulty in
accessing the website by residents in the hinterland where there are technological challenges.
Nevertheless, Brotherson noted that the training and retraining of staff will be the hallmark of the Department of the Public Service as they effectively manage what they consider to be transformative methodology, while gaining public confidence in the new system.
In 2016, questions were raised when it was disclosed that Minister of Education Nicolette Henry and Minister in the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson were benefiting from government scholarships. How they came to know of the scholarships and how they were evaluated were among a number of questions raised.