UNITED NATIONS – Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, Monday said his administration intends to allocate 20 percent of its national budget to expand and improve the country’s education system.
“As part of efforts to revamp the education system, the government will increase education expenditure to 20 percent of the national budget and six percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) thereby ensuring adequate and sustainable financing for education,” Ali told the Transforming Education Summit that forms part of the week of high-level events at the United Nations (UN) headquarters, including the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The UN said that the summit had been convened in response to a global crisis in education, one of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance. It said, often slow and unseen, this crisis is having a devastating impact on the futures of children and youth worldwide. T
“The summit provides a unique opportunity to elevate education to the top of the global political agenda and to mobilize action, ambition, solidarity and solutions to recover pandemic-related learning losses and sow the seeds to transform education in a rapidly changing world.”
Speaking during Monday’s “Leaders Day,” dedicated to the presentation of National Statements of Commitment by Heads of State and Government in the form of Leaders Roundtables, President Ali, who chaired the first roundtable recommitted his administration to making tertiary education in Guyana free by 2025.
President Ali acknowledged the learning losses experienced in Guyana because of longstanding gaps in access to education, pointing to what he described as the unequal access to online learning as an example.
But he promised that his administration intends to do more even though some efforts were instituted to help mitigate those challenges and losses.
Guyana has this year allocated GUY$74.4 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.008 cents) from the GUY$552.9 billion national budget and President Ali also gave a commitment that the government will also provide free tertiary education by 2025.
He said these efforts are all being pursued because education is a “core element” of Guyana’s social transformation.
He said that the government has expanded a school’s feeding program, where children are able to get free meals and that apart from these supporting initiatives, including a GUY$60,000 schoolchildren’s grant, the education system is being transformed with a curriculum revision and the infusion of greater of more digital technologies.