…20 scholarships being offered
In order to assist Guyana to boost its land surveying capacity, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has donated over US$30,000 in surveying equipment to the Government Technical Institute (GTI).
The several pieces of surveying equipment were handed over on Wednesday following the swearing-in ceremony of five new land surveyors at State House. Land surveyors are trained through a programme offered at the GTI.
This donation is part of the Sustainable Land Management and Development Project being implemented by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) in partnership with the FAO and funded by Guyana’s Redd+ Investment Fund.
FAO Country Representative in Guyana, Dr Gillian Smith, said that the organisation is committed to continuously supporting the country’s development agenda, particularly as it relates to land management. In fact, she posited that it is due to the drive of local agencies such as the GL&SC that the FAO has made the donation.
“We know that the work that the project is doing is only a very, very small part of the bigger, comprehensive and more ambitious land management agenda and work of the Government. But under the vision of GL&SC and the Government, this project is doing its part to support updated base maps for several administrative regions. Support is being provided in the modernising efforts that are being made for land administration and lease management systems and processes, land surveying and cadastral systems, among other areas,” Dr Smith stated.
The FAO official went on to laud the Guyana Government for prioritising human capacity building.
“Guyana recognises the critical contribution that this makes to sustainable development in general, and particularly how it complements all of the infrastructure investment that is being done here. Specifically, here, human resource capacity is vital, as we have heard, in achieving land management and sustainable land development,” she noted.
In fact, Dr Smith further acknowledged the fact that over the years, GTI has produced experts in land surveying, many of whom are now leaders in the field. To this end, in addition to the surveying equipment, the FAO official also announced that this project is also offering scholarships to 20 new students in the academic year commencing in September.
These scholarship students will be doing a field attachment with the GL&SC and this will allow them a chance to underpin the theoretical foundations that they will receive with practical experience that is extremely vital.
Another component of this project is work being done to address patterns of land degradation and identifying and prioritising land restoration practices that will then be scaled up. According to the FAO Representative, this can directly support the targets of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) to restore up to 200,000 hectares of land by 2030.
Importance of practical skills
Meanwhile, Education Minister Priya Manickchand expressed gratitude to the FAO for its donation to GTI, as she emphasised the importance of developing practical skills during training programmes such as land surveying.
“We are fully aware that academic and the traditional academia and subjects that we’ve pursued remain important. But we are very aware of how necessary it is to upskill more, many, or even all of the members of our population and you’re going to see a renewed rollout of how we treat with TVET (technical and vocational education and training) even from the primary level in our country,” she posited.
Manickchand noted that the aim is to ensure that every student exiting high school is competent in at least one TVET area.
Further recognising the need for more land surveyors in Guyana and the fact that the GTI is the only institution that offers such qualifications, the Education Minister assured more will be done to support this field.
In fact, Manickchand stated that this is already happening with Government placing intensified attention and matching investment on TVET institutions across the country.
“It’s important that the people we produce at the Ministry, we produce from the institutions of the Ministry understand their role in building out this ‘One Guyana’ where unity and love and harmony is our goal to reach. And there are going to be new responsibilities in this new Guyana that is more aware of the harms of the bad work and who are more aware of the goodness that comes from good work. There’s going to be more responsibilities placed on every public professional coming out,” the Education Minister noted.
She went on to say to the five newly sworn-in land surveyors that “…I urge you, in this time, to resolve that you’re going to go forward doing sworn land surveying work even as you earn the big bucks that could come with it, because big bucks do come from it; that you resolve that you will commit to serving with integrity and honest so that your name must never be a name that people associate with scampishness.” (Guyana Times)