New software to be developed to modernise the public sector

Public Service Minister Sonia Parag

Public Service Minister, Sonia Parag has reminded that the public sector will see efforts being made to facilitate modernisation, as government is looking to implement an e-governance structure.

She was at the time responding to Opposition Member, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley in relation to the modernisation of the sector.

“We are looking at an e-governance structure throughout the public service. In the meanwhile, the ministry is looking to have a software be installed that will be compatible with that when it comes onboard,” Minister Parag said.

She noted that this new software will foster interconnectivity among the agencies.

Electronic governance, or e-governance, is the use of electronic software and information technology to deliver government services to the public.

The aim is to ensure that personnel of the public service are equipped with the skills to undertake the training programmes which are also slated for this year being facilitated by the Centre for Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT).

Meanwhile, the minister disclosed that based on the national needs assessment, the thousands of Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarships slated for this year will address the needs of the public service and the country as a whole.

The opposition MP had questioned whether the GOAL and Government of Guyana scholarships are meeting the needs of the people, pointing out that many scholarship recipients are unable to gain employment in the public service following completion of their programme.

Minister Parag highlighted that this was a feature of scholarship recipients under the previous administration.

Referring to the scholarship options made available under the previous administration, she said, “The relevant and priority areas were not selected. It was done on an ad hoc basis. So, you had persons coming out when there were no vacancies available for their skillset, and a lot of those persons were also over-trained. So, the people who are coming out now were not from this particular administration.”

She added that when areas that could not facilitate placement were identified, they were removed from the list of scholarship options. These areas include Agriculture, Forestry and International Relations.

Further, Minister Parag highlighted that government continues to develop the Guyana School of Agriculture, and offer scholarships in specialty areas such as Food Science and Food Technology, as part of efforts to promote advancements in food security and involvement in Agriculture.

“We are catering for where the areas are going to advance in Agriculture,” the Public Service minister added.

The government’s 20,000 online scholarship programme is the fulfilment of a pledge made to provide opportunities for educational development nationwide, in recognition of the challenges faced by many Guyanese with regards to tertiary education. GOAL is set to offer 187 programmes that can be accessed from 15 reputable academic institutions across the world, including India, Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany. The programmes, which are being financed by the Government, range from certificate-level to PhDs.

Some $1.8 billion has been allocated in the 2023 budget for the advancement of the GOAL programme.