Human Service Ministry, Coursera partner to address gaps in education, workforce

The Human Services and Social Security Ministry (MHSSS) on Thursday launched its Gender Gap in Education and Workforce Initiative, a $50 million programme geared at empowering women to embrace the labour force through education.

The two-year programme is a collaboration between the ministry and US-based online education provider Coursera.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Vindhya Persaud and US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, with other officials at the launch on Thursday

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud said global statistics show that just about 30 per cent of women occupy the labour market, compared to the 50 per cent occupation by men.

She said Guyana’s rapidly progressing economy along with steps by the government to open new avenues, are providing more employment opportunities for women.

“Today, we are embarking on a transformational programme that will touch the lives of thousands of women. Not hundreds, but thousands of women across the length and breadth of Guyana. Last year the WIIN [WOMEN’s Innovation and Investment Network] programme came on the scene, a brand-new programme that really showed us and illustrated tangibly, how much women wanted to not only to learn but to get into the labour market and become part of the workforce”, the minister said.

Some 2,170 women were trained last year through the WIIN programme, in partnership with local organisations, institutions in the United Kingdom and the University of the West Indies.

Coursera’s Senior Representative for Government Partnership, Chad Pasha said he was honoured to partner with the ministry to adjust gaps in education and the workforce.

“Coursera women’s and skills report found that the gender gap in online learning actually narrowed during the COVID pandemic, even as the gender employment gaps widen … the share of overall course enrolment from women grew from 38 per cent in 2019 to 44 per cent today.”    

The WIIN programme was launched by the human services ministry to empower women and girls to become financially independent.

The government allocated a sum of $173 million to advance courses offered through the WIIN programme in the 2022 national budget.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, along with other ministry officials, attended the event.

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