Guyana: Prez Irfaan Ali reiterated his administration’s commitment to refashioning the University of Guyana to better respond to modern society’s needs.
The Head of State presented the President’s Medal to the two valedictorians; 24-year-old Deepa Odit from the Turkeyen Campus, who completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy and attained a 3.9 GPA, and 36-year-old Savitree Budram from the Tain Campus, who completed a Bachelor of Education – Administration and achieved a GPA of 4.0.
Prez Irfaan Ali made the pronouncement while virtually addressing the 2020 graduating class of the premier tertiary educational institution.
“My administration has made some commitments to boosting tertiary education. My Government has pledged to refashion the University of Guyana to better respond to the needs of a modern Guyana…. We will honor those obligations.”
He pointed to the importance of education in a developing country, calling it a “vital life force” of national development. Meanwhile, he also underscored the need for highly skilled individuals in the ‘new economy.
The President said that the administration has committed to improving the university’s technological advancement, and in doing so, will ensure that there is greater access to higher education by making more courses and programs available by online mode.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to guaranteeing free university education before the end of its term, along with the provision of 20,000 scholarships to improve the educational capacity of Guyanese.
This, he said, will be supported by creating a Guyana Online Academy of Learning, which will fall in line with the administration’s intention of expanding tertiary education access.
Guyanese have already initiated to transition to online learning. President Ali stated since September last year, over 53,000 Guyanese have registered with the Commonwealth of Learning and Coursera, with almost 36,000 taking courses to upgrade or re-skill themselves in various industries.
President Ali charged the graduates to position themselves to take full benefit of the unprecedented growth that will be realized across the sectors.
The Head of State said that the nation would look to them to be at the forefront of promoting innovation and propelling our economy to higher output and attainment levels.
“It is vital that we utilize administration’s collective skills and knowledge to enhance our quality of life. Guyana is embarking not only on a process which will yield higher levels of development and human growth, but which will also require higher levels of education and learning.”
He stressed that a critical element of the national development plan is the growth of a knowledge-based economy, which depends on highly skilled human capital that prioritizes life-long learning.
“Today’s graduation is, therefore, just the end of one leg of your journey of continuous learning, for if you do not continuously upgrade and acquire new and relevant skills and knowledge, you will be left behind in the new economy,” he added.