Local educational institutions must gear up to benefit from GOAL programmes

Local learning institutions will need to equip themselves to provide online programmes, so that they could also benefit from the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL).

GOAL’s Deputy Director of Enrollment and Student Affairs, Ronald Singh said the entity has been accused of paying foreign institutions for online educational programmes. He said while this may be true, it is not deliberate, since local institutions are not fully geared for online programmes.

Ronald Singh, Deputy Director Enrollment and Student Affairs-GOAL.

He explained that discussions were held last year with institutions including the Guyana School of Agriculture, Georgetown Technical Institute and the Carnegie School of Home Economics. However, they were not equipped to provide online programmes.

“They have what you call makeshift, in the sense that you may have a zoom now, but that zoom is not saved, so if you miss that class what happens? Nothing to review. Real online and distance learning programmes, have materials pre prepared for their students. The institutions in Guyana have not gone that far,” Singh noted.

He said institutions have been asked to develop such programmes, however, so far, only Carnegie School of Home Economics has made some adjustments, and will soon send a proposal to GOAL.

“Real online programmes are always there if a student misses a class, the video is still there, the material is still there.

We have a responsibility in training people to make sure that the institutions we pick are solid, their programmes are recognised…remember you don’t have to necessarily live and find jobs in Guyana, you can go to the Caribbean, but we don’t want you to end up in the Caribbean with a degree from an institution that is not recognised,” Singh noted.

He said the door is still open to institutions that meet the requirements, for example the Georgetown American university, is on board for the Get Ready for Opportunities to Work (GROW) programme, offering the GED.

Also, for the first time Texila American University based in Guyana, has provided programmes to students through the GOAL programme.

“As we go down, and more local institutions come aboard and have their systems ready to offer these programmes, we will take them on. As I said, I believe in local content, but local content has limitations,” Singh noted.

“You have to be offering the programmes of relevance, you have to be in our context from GOAL, we don’t have the permission to go offer face to face learning programmes, only online,” Singh said.

He said GTI must “step up” because they offer great programmes, needed across the country.

He noted that programmes offered must also be relevant to the needs of Guyanese.

“Part of the government’s plan right now is to encourage economic inclusion through the capacity building…if they have the training, they have the knowledge then you can’t keep them out of the economy, they will become included because they can now apply for a job, because they have the training for it,” Singh reiterated.

“We get scholarship of 80 per cent through UNICAF, we are only paying 20, and we are still asking for a little more.  We got European universities giving us up to 90 percent, but they ask for volume, a certain number of students, now when you look at the cost for a degree you can’t beat that anywhere,” Singh said.

The GOAL was established by the Government of Guyana to spearhead the delivery of 20,000 online scholarships over five years. So far, 6,000 Guyanese have benefited while over 9,000 have registered this year.

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