In line with the manifesto promise of introducing 20,000 scholarships within the first term of office, the People’s Progressive / Civic Party (PPP / C) Government has opened the application process for people to apply in a number of disciplines. The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Services announced that applications will now be accepted for the award of these scholarships. The Ministry of Education is working on implementing the Guyana Online Learning Academy (GOAL), which will house this program, in the first half of 2021. This program is for Guyanese across all communities in each region and it will be accessible accordingly.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for managing the academic and technical aspects of the program while the Ministry of Public Services awards the scholarships. Currently, they range from diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degrees from several universities. Since taking office in August 2020, the People’s Progressive Party / Civic Administration (PPP / C) had announced over 445 scholarships for local and international studies in February, totaling more than $ 80 million. Public Services Minister Sonia Parag had informed the National Assembly that a total of 39 scholarships were awarded locally, totaling some $ 16.1 million. This includes some 34 scholarships to the University of Guyana (AS) up to $ 13.2 million. Three scholarships were also given for the Guyana School of Agriculture, totaling some $ 855,000. In addition, one scholarship each was awarded to Art Williams and Harry Wendt Aeronautical School and Texila American University up to $ 880,000 and $ 1,100,000 respectively. The Minister highlighted that more than $ 67 million in scholarships had been announced for study abroad. Of these 35 scholarships, seven were paid study leave while two were funded by donors. President Dr Irfaan Ali has pledged to give 20,000 scholarships to Guyanese over the next four years. In fact, in the 2020 Crisis Budget, the PPP / C Government had earmarked over $ 1 billion for awarding scholarships for local and foreign studies, as well as training public servants. At a press conference last August, just weeks after taking office, Minister Parag had revealed that the system for vetting scholarships was severely flawed under the regime led by David Granger. “What I’ve found is that our system for vetting scholarships is very flawed. That is what I have personally observed, and that is something that I intend to review and change. If I may say, it is a demographic and geographical one in Guyana. That has been happening for the last five years, ”the Minister for Public Services had revealed during a virtual press conference. For individuals who had previously applied and been refused, or who were facing other difficulties, the Minister said that such a case would be looked at on a case by case basis. The whole system will be reviewed to ensure that these services benefit all stakeholders.