The Government of Guyana will soon be able to utilize a US$27M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help build up the human capital that is required to manage the nation’s massive oil resources.
The financial agency outlined in its technical documents for the loan that over the last seven years, Guyana has experienced rapid economic growth and transformation, with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita increasing from US$6,600 in 2019 to US$9,370 in 2021.
In 2020, it said the country’s GDP grew by 43.5% and is expected to grow by an annual average of 36.2% between 2020 and 2023. The bank said this economic transformation will allow the government to plan and implement long-needed investments in its public infrastructure programme. The IDB noted however that if Guyana is to properly oversee such programmes while boosting economic growth and diversification, the development of Guyana’s human capital has to be of the highest priority. It is with this principle in mind that it finds Guyana eligible to access a US$27M loan which would be utilized by the Ministry of Education.
Of the said sum, US$4M will go towards recovering learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic while emphasizing the adoption of 21st-century skills. The money would also be expended to ensure the design and implementation of accelerated learning programmes through tutoring services and the implementation of a learning platform to bring students back to grade-level based on simplified diagnostic assessments in Math, Language Arts, and Science. It will also fund the training and coaching of teachers in student-centered learning pedagogies, social-emotional skills, formative assessment, and strategies for teaching boys.
The IDB’s loan preparation documentation also states that US$2M will be spent on supporting at-risk students. The objective of this aspect is to ensure students complete their studies. It will also finance the development of an “early warning system” for the identification of students at risk of falling behind and needing additional support services; provision of quality educational materials to students and teachers; teacher training to allow them to detect early on any possible learning challenges (related to eyesight and hearing); and training in English as a Secondary Language (ESL).
A component of the project will be dedicated to digital transformation and is expected to cost US$10M. This aspect aims to strengthen the integration of education technology (including both low-tech and high-tech) into the teaching-learning process. It will also finance the expansion of connectivity in a first group of primary schools; provision of laptops, tablets, and other digital resources for teachers, students, and schools, including software; and digital skills training for teachers, school principals, and administrators.
The loan would also allow for an Education Management Information System (EMIS) to be implemented. It will cost US$2M and contain quality administrative data pertaining to schools, students, and teachers as well as school infrastructure and technology. It will pave the way for the provision of hardware in primary schools, training, and technical support.
Additionally, US$8M would be set aside for school infrastructure improvements to ensure there is a positive learning environment in primary schools, and the incorporation of climate sustainability and resilience criteria. It will finance an audit of water and energy availability and usage in schools; the installation and upgrading of potable water systems and power sources following energy and water efficiency criteria in the first group of primary schools to be selected; and the construction of new schools.