The Education Sector is set to be boosted with the signing of a US$13.3M loan by the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and World Bank Senior Country Officer, Pierre Nadji. The signing was done in the Ministry of Finance’s boardroom, Lamaha Street, Georgetown today.
As part of the agreement, money will be allocated to the Ministry of Education for the Education Sector Improvement(ESI). Director of Projects, Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Tarchand Balgobin said, “This is government’s thrust in the development of the Education Sector, bearing in mind the Oil and Gas Sector and personnel training to respond to the developmental challenges that are before us.”
According to Director of Projects, the new project, the ESI will facilitate the development of a new curriculum framework and teaching guides, teacher training, strengthening of national assessment capacity and development of teaching materials. It is a successor programme to the Secondary Reform Programme.
The project will also support the University of Guyana’s Health Sciences Facility, Balgobin said. He noted that the loan will aid the University in achieving and maintaining regional accreditation for its medical programme through improved and sustained teaching quality.
The Projects Director explained that a new Health Sciences Education building, with modern training and laboratory facilities, will be constructed. The Ministry of Education will be the implementing Ministry for this project.
Additionally, a US$6M loan was signed for a National Payment System. The system is a technology driven process that seeks to engender and facilitate financial and other commercial transactions. Balgobin explained that, “What this does is to improve the way cash is handled in Guyana.” He said that it is more than the physical money transactions, the system includes the legal and regulatory framework, the institution policies, rules, regulations and procedures. The Bank of Guyana will be the implementer of this project.
Balgobin added that the Information Technology system is very important. He pointed out that this system drives the electronic transfers and the clearing house mechanisms. He noted that the system affects both the national as well as the international economy and is an indispensable system in the e-commerce age.
He further said that the system will be applied to governmental transactions which include the Public Sector Payroll, The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), government pensions among others.
Balgobin said that it is envisaged that the system will roll-out to include all commercial transaction nationally. He explained that the Private Sector is expected to be a key stakeholder in the process as, “the system takes foot and becomes effective across the board.” This initiative will see Guyana forward towards the ecommerce industry.
Following the conclusion of the most recent Country Development strategy between the World Bank and government a significant increase in concessional resources has been announced for Guyana (approximately US$ 90M).
Looking ahead, government intends to focus this development support in the improvements to the Linden Soesdyke Highway; selected important technical assistance support to the emerging Oil and Gas Sector including studies, institutional development and capacity building and on a policy based lending facility, among other areas.