A current analysis of the current Government of Guyana policy on post-secondary education’s role in economic and social development shows that it only attracts two lines in its ‘Education Sector Plan 2014-2018’. It states, “The Ministry defines education as more than the instrumental activity for supporting greater national development or reducing poverty” (Ministry of Education, n.d., p. v) and that in recognizing the changing economic and technological climate it “requires that the Ministry commit to a policy of providing continuing education and training opportunities for the adult population” (Ministry of Education, n.d., p. v). There is no mention of the resources available from the diaspora or of the possibility of utilizing these resources to develop post-secondary education in Guyana.
While work has been done in 2016 to inquire into the sate of education in Guyana with a view to “inform the administrative, policy and legislative processes” (GINA, 2016), based on the foregoing analysis the author proposes a more detailed post-secondary education policy that can be used as a tool for economic and social development in Guyana. Such a policy would entail the following:
- Provide a clear 10 to 20 year vision for post-secondary education in Guyana.
- Provide a framework for the advancement of post-secondary education as a tool for national social and economic development.
- Safeguard national economic development by broadening of the intellectual base of its workers through post-secondary education.
- Guarantee quality, affordable post-secondary education that is equally available and affordable to all citizens.
- Facilitate the transition between high school and skilled employment or the university.
- Facilitate private sector education entrepreneurship and development while protecting the country and its citizens from education commodification.
- Cognizant of the public interest that post-secondary education serves, both public and private institutions and ardently protects this interest.
- Cognizant of the role of that the knowledge base of the nation’s human resources plays in the 21st century economy.
- Cognizant of the ethical issues affecting post-secondary education in the 21st century and address these issues in a morally and socially acceptable manner.
- Cognizant of migration issues and take steps to mitigate the migration of qualified post-secondary educators.
- Cognizant of the resources available from the diaspora and make efforts to use these resources to improve and enhance post-secondary education in Guyana.
- Create an environment to attract and retain qualified post-secondary educators through migrant and re-migrant post-secondary educator incentives.
- Provide systems to manage and monitor the quality of post-secondary education being provided by private and government-run institutions, ensuring that they are in line with international standards.
A sound and prudent post-secondary education policy can be used as a tool for economic and social development in Guyana. It can lead to the advancement of the intellectual skill set of the Guyanese people by having a larger number of Guyanese being educated to higher levels, thus enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty leading to a larger middle class and a booming economy. Great post-secondary education policy would ensure that quality, affordable post-secondary education is equally available and affordable to all Guyanese citizens, and that qualified students who would like to pursue post-secondary education can do so and are not deterred by the cost. Such a policy would facilitate the transition between secondary school and skilled employment or the university, thus bridging of the gap between secondary school and university and between secondary school and the work force. This policy would also foster private sector education entrepreneurship and development while at the same time protect the country and its citizens from education commodification. Finally, a great post-secondary education policy would be cognizant of migration issues and of the resources available from the diaspora, and take steps to mitigate this migration while creating an environment to attract and retain qualified post-secondary educators through migrant and re-migrant post-secondary educator incentives.
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