More than 3,000 students have benefited so far from an ExxonMobil Guyana supported STEM programme being rolled out by the Volunteer Youth Corps (VYC). ExxonMobil Guyana began supporting the initiative back in 2012, some 3 years before the company made its first oil discovery in the South American country.
VYC CEO, Goldie Scott, told OilNOW that the organization had an ongoing after-school programme that served around 100 students in south east Georgetown when officials from ExxonMobil Guyana first visited one of the sessions to observe what was being done.
“They came and they visited and saw what we were doing and indicated they wanted to partner with us to provide STEM education right in the community and also in schools,” she said.
Since that time and with the support of the oil company, the VYC CEO said the programme has expanded to include 400 to 500 students per year. “Some years we may fluctuate a bit but there are around 500 students who benefit from the programme each year.”
Scott said VYC has been providing after-school lessons in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “We cover basically all the sciences. We support kids who are in Grade 9 to 11 to perform better in those science related subject areas.”
She said the programme is conducted year-round, four to five days per week, and VYC recently expanded the scope to include information technology and robotics.
“Over the last 8 to 9 years we have worked with around 16 to 18 schools. Right now, we have 12 schools in the programme and we have between 28 to 32 teachers in the progranme. Due to a partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Head Teachers in these schools, this has been made possible,” Scott pointed out.
ExxonMobil Guyana’s support for the programme has continued since 2012 and the company committed to providing a further G$20M to the initiative on April 16.
“Each year ExxonMobil’s support has increased, and I am assuming that this is due to the progress the programme has been making over the years. We’re very careful with ensuring that our students improve their performance each year. So, we measure what they enter the programme with and at the end of each term there is an assessment that is done to show progress and where improvements are needed,” she said.
ExxonMobil Guyana’s Senior Director, Public and Government Affairs, Deedra Moe, who made the announcement of the additional G$20M support for the programme, said STEM is at the core of the company’s operations as it seeks to develop new technology, and ensure operations are safe and environmentally responsible.