GOAL scholarship awardees to be selected by July

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The deadline for scholarships offered through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) has been extended to June 5, providing prospective applicants with enough time to submit their applications.

Public Service Minister, Sonia Parag told this publication in a telephone interview on Monday that the two-tier selection process is still in place to select successful applicants. The selection will be completed by the first week of July.

“It has to go through the two-process stage. What happens is the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Online Academy of Learning would determine the eligibility of the persons for the admission into the universities and so I can’t give you a timeline for when they will be selected but what I can say is that they will be selected before the first week of July because these persons are supposed to begin in the first week of July,” Parag told this publication.

The 20,000 scholarships promised by Government in its manifesto will be offered over five years, with 4500 of those scholarships to be awarded this year.

Less than one month after the official launch, close to 3500 applications are being processed by GOAL – the institution that will be managing the overall operational and functional components of the 20,000 free online scholarships initiative for the next five years.

The applications received represent online and hard-copy submissions from the 10 administrative regions for the 108 programmes being offered – some of which require no formal academic qualifications.

Persons who registered online but have not completed the application process are urged to complete the form and upload the supporting documents which include: a passport-size photograph; a copy of their National Identification Card/biometric page of their passport or driver’s licence; copies of transcripts and certificates of all academic achievements; motivational statement and a Letter of Support from current employer (if employed) or anyone in authority to attest to their character.

GOAL aims to expand the middle- and upper-class category of the population through enhancement of access to tertiary education that will support manpower requirements of both the private and public sectors by the year 2025.

All courses and programmes are fully online and accessible to students to download material and assignments at their convenience. In explaining the delivery of courses to students, Director of GOAL, Dr Jacob Opadeyi noted that students are expected to inculcate the personal study habit as there will be no daily, virtual online classes. However, scheduled online tutorials will be held to offer clarification and guidance, as may be required.

Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) will form the basis for these programmes. However, applicants without CAPE certification who can provide evidence of higher-level education, academically or technical including a Certificate from the Cyril Potter College; any Technical Institute (TI) in Guyana and a Diploma from an accredited university in Guyana, will be eligible for consideration.

Referring to contractual obligation under the GOAL initiative, successful applicants will have to serve a period of community service during the life of their respective programme/course.

This month, it was announced that 19 more programmes have been added to the GOAL scholarship programme and will be offered by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus. UWI is among five international universities offering 85 online programmes to Guyanese through the GOAL initiative. There are programmes in the certificate, diploma, degree, master’s and postgraduate levels.

Other universities include the University of the Southern Caribbean, the University of Applied Sciences, the Indira Gandhi National Open University and the JAIN “Deemed To Be” University.

A few days ago, Government also announced, “Teachers who embark in studies in various disciplines at the partnering universities in distinctive and diverse programmes and are successful will receive incentives and recognition including monetary incentives; points for promotion; graduate status among other considerations.”

Interested individuals can apply at www.guyanagoal.org, www.goal.edu.gy or complete and submit hard copy application forms to the Ministry of Public Service.