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$65M ICT equipment throws TVET institutions online amidst COVID

Some of the equipment which will be used to in the initiative 

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions across Guyana will now be fully equipped to facilitate online learning amid the COVID-19.

The TVET Online Training’s launch was held on Tuesday at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) on Woolford Avenue.

Coordinator of the Skills Development and Employability Project (GSDEP), Theron Seibs, explained that the initiative was birthed due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year when schools were closed.

He said that the Caribbean Development Bank, which is funding the GSDEP, was approached to repurpose a part of the loan to purchase the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment for the institutions.

After the CDB gave the approval, Siebs explained that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was approached to fast-track the items’ purchasing at the cost of over $65M.

The equipment includes 138 laptops, 12 tablets, 40 camcorders, 128 projectors, and 20 cloud storage devices.

These items will be distributed among identified Secondary Schools that are piloting the Caribbean Vocational Qualification and the 10 TVET institutions across Guyana.

They include the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Linden Technical Institute (LTI), New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI), Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC), Essequibo Technical Institute (ETI), Upper-Corentyne Industrial Training Centre (UCITC), Mahaicony TVET Centre, Leonora TVET Centre, Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) and Craft Production and Design Department (CP&DD).

Chief Education Officer Dr. Marcel Hutson said that the initiative to take TVET online is a testimony to how the sector can be improved.

“We are keen on reforming TVET, and you will see it manifested in our strategic plan, you will see that manifested in our budgetary allocation in terms of how we intend to reform TVET in our country,” the CEO noted.

He said that persons must adapt quickly so that Guyana does not find itself in a position where TVET education is stagnated.

The equipment that will be given to these institutions is integral to the transformational process the CEO noted.

Divisional Chief of the Caribbean Development Bank, Deidre Clarendon, said that the TVET skills training sector had not escaped the impacts of COVID-19 and in fact, has been uniquely affected.

According to the International Labour Organization, over 60 per cent of Latin America and the Caribbean are still experiencing disruptions to their learning.

Clarendon said that at the commencement of COVID-19, the CDB took a multifaceted approach to assess the pandemic’s impact on borrowing countries to offer a range of options to mitigate those impacts, particularly the education and training sector.

She said that the CDB is happy to collaborate with the Government of Guyana to repurpose CDB Project financing under the GSDEP to procure the ICT equipment.