THE Education Ministry, last December, announced that at a meeting of the Board of Directors – on which former Education Minister Priya Manickchand sat as a Director representing Latin America and the Caribbean – the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) approved a US$1.7 million education grant for Guyana. On Wednesday, Junior Education Minister Nicolette Henry, took the programme launch to Bartica, Region 7 (Cuyuni/ Mazaruni).

She touted the fact that the programme’s launch reaffirms the commitment of the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) to investment in Guyana human capital.

Henry also made no mention of the project’s origins.

The Ministry, according to the 2014 deal, is expected to apply the US$1.7 million education grant to improve its Early Childhood Education Programme with particular attention being paid to the Hinterland and Riverain communities.

According to Henry, the direct beneficiaries of the project includes; children attending the two years of nursery education and Grade 1, aged 3 ½ – 7 years, living in hinterland regions (Regions 1,7,8 and 9) and targeted remote riverine areas. Also, some 440 nursery and Grade 1 teachers would also benefit from improved working conditions and training.

Notably, former Minister Manickchand in expressing great pleasure at Guyana being a recipient of the grant, last year, said she expected the grant to allow for building on the many gains already made and expects to see vastly improved learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy at the early levels.

“This is critical funding at a time when 58 million children of primary school age are still not in school,” said Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education. All children should have access to a school with effective teachers and be able to learn so they can contribute to the development of their community and nation,” she had said when the agreement was formalized.

The Global Partnership for Education is made up of nearly 60 developing country Governments, as well as donor Governments, civil society/non-governmental organisations, teacher organisations, international organisations, and the private sector and foundations, whose joint mission is to galvanise and coordinate a global effort to provide a good quality education to children, prioritising the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Global Partnership for Education has allocated over US$3.9 billion over the past decade to support education reforms in some of the world’s poorest countries. Almost half of its funding in 2014 went to fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Guyana joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2002.

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