When it comes to the interplay between climate change, the environment and education, schools and education facilities should adapt to build resilience against climate change risks. For Guyana’s education system, the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS 2030) plans to attain this objective.
The government’s national advancement plan outlines four ways to adapt Guyana’s education system to climate change. It lists these as training Guyanese to function in a low-carbon economy; developing capacities for trades in low-carbon services; aligning institutions and programmes to thrive in low-carbon development, including the University of Guyana and technical and vocational institutions; and developing qualification and experience capabilities to function in a low-carbon economy.
Guyana’s National Risk Management Policy for Education will be pivotal in achieving the mentioned goals. For context, this policy aims to improve risk management measures within the education sector and provide national guidance on disaster management. This policy shall become a reference document that will provide regional education officers with the appropriate tools to plan and manage risks relevant to their specific geographic areas.
“As a Ministry, we recognise the importance of strengthening disaster risk reduction within the education sector to build our resilience, save lives and protect the right to education,” the Ministry of Education stated in last year’s National Risk Management Policy of 2021.
“We are also committed to meeting the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” the Ministry said.
In addressing these obligations, the Ministry of Education, in close collaboration with Heads of the Department of Education, and with the technical support of the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) and UNICEF, has developed this National Risk Management Policy for the education sector in Guyana.
To further reinforce the MoE’s capacities at central and sub-national levels to be prepared for, and prevent the impacts of crises and ensure educational continuity during and after a crisis hits, the MoE has decided to develop a national risk management policy for the education sector in Guyana. Anchored in the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2021-2025 – Vision 2030, this strategy also contributes to the ESP’s overarching priorities, i.e. improving governance and accountability, efficiency of the education system and reducing inequities in education
LCDS 2030 is yet to be implemented and the government is looking to do so before the end of this year. Notwithstanding that, the Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led administration has already taken steps to transform Guyana’s health sector outside of the LCDS. For context, Budget 2022 of $552.9 billion-Guyana’s largest budget ever-dedicated some $73.2 billion to the health sector.
A breakdown of this mammoth sum shows that the government budgeted:
- A sum of $74.4 billion for the education sector in 2022 of which $6.6 billion will be used to construct, rehabilitate, extend and maintain educational facilities
- $3.5 billion towards the operation of the University of Guyana’s campuses and expansion of its course offerings for online and in-person classes
- $1.3 billion towards the GOAL scholarship programme to meet the cost of another 4,500 scholarships
- $2.5 billion to strengthen technical and vocational education and training programmes across the country at post-secondary levels. This will equip approximately 4,500 young people currently enrolled with the skills to pursue entrepreneurship and achieve employability
- $260 million to commence work on the establishment of the Guyana Technical Training Institute (GTTI) with a campus at Port Mourant
- $420.5 million to train 1,000 workers in a wide range of sectors, particularly oil and gas. This programme will continue into the medium- term and will see up to 4,500 people trained over the next four years, among others.