Forty-nine hinterland students were granted full scholarships to attend the University of Guyana this academic year, as a result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Public Service Department.
The awardees are a fraction of those that were accepted to the University, as a Department of Public Information release noted that 67 hinterland students were admitted to the institution, however, for reasons unknown, the others did not follow through with attending.
The awarded students began their tertiary education in September 2018, the beginning of this academic year.
It was stated that the students will be housed at the soon-to-be-commissioned $186 million Hinterland Student Dormitory located in Liliendaal, a 16-apartment complex that will host students attending the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Carnegie School of Home Economics, the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) the Guyana Industrial Technical Centre (GITC) and the University of Guyana.
DPI noted that this grant programme is an addition to the hundreds of grants provided yearly to hinterland students who successfully complete the National Grade Six Assessment. The current Hinterland Student Dormitory houses those students awarded schools in Georgetown, while those awarded schools in their regions are housed in the school’s dormitories.
“We provide accommodation, allowances for guardians, purchase books and uniforms. So, we have full support for young people, and we are very happy to say that over the last two years there has been an 83 percent pass rate at the hinterland dorms which is very encouraging…These young people attained five or more subjects at CSEC and are applying for tertiary education,” Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock explained at a Regional Development Conference in Kato.
The release highlighted that the ministry, under the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme, has also provided training for 4,000 hinterland youths and will lead to the creation of almost 2,000 small businesses. However, it noted that some students opted to further their education at higher learning institutions on the coast.
“HEYS is not going to interfere with the mainstream education programme, as a matter of fact, the intention is to support the education programme… the idea is to give young people an opportunity to play a more meaningful role in their community…Some of the businesses are doing well and communities have been calling for this initiative to continue. They have even requested an adult programme,” the minister related. He also related that $100 million has been set aside to further support the successful businesses created under the HEYS programme.
Allicock said that under the programme, which runs for a year, students received a $30,000 stipend each month. “So, for example, if we have 20 students from each community, each month there will be $600,000 going back into that community and about $7 million per year,” Allicock said.
“These initiatives are part of the Coalition Government’s efforts to ensure equal access to education to students regardless of their location,” the release stated.