Delivering for youths


20 December 2019

PRESIDENT David Granger on Thursday addressed the first ever youth summit in Linden, during which, according to media reports, he reminded the youths that they are vital to the nation’s development, while acknowledging that they need to be provided with the knowledge and skills to transform this nation.

He said, too, that young people must be prepared to take up the mantle of leadership, and that since assuming office, the Coalition Government has invested heavily in the education sector, stressing that education is essential if they are going to be empowered. We have editorialised before that government’s commitment to youth, and its programmes and initiatives aimed at educating and empowering young people is appropriate and timely, and should be saluted.

After all, a trained, educated, and qualified young person is more likely to obtain a satisfying, stable, secure, and well-paying job. President Granger recognises the importance of having good jobs, and, like he said at the summit, the future of any society is heavily dependent on the actions of its young people. In the case of Guyana, with its geographically, politically, ethnically, and culturally diverse circumstances, government has a duty to ensure that all the country’s youth, across all regions, have equitable opportunities to contribute to the development of their communities, regions, and ultimately the nation. And the APNU+AFC administration is evidently taking action to ensure that Guyana’s youth are equipped to obtain good jobs, so as to provide for themselves and their families, enjoy good lives, contribute positively to their communities, and ultimately help develop their country, even as they prepare to take up the mantle of leadership in the future.

One of the significant initiatives launched by the Coalition administration is the establishment of the National Youth Corps (NYC). The NYC’s core objective is to give Guyanese who may have dropped out of school a second chance to have a good life. The idea of a National Youth Corps was first made a reality shortly after Guyana gained its independence. The first NYC was launched on January 1, 1968 by the government of the day. That original programme lasted seven years, during which time some 1,200 young Guyanese were trained in various areas. The current initiative, though similar to the original one, has been tailored to the country’s present realities, and reflects the administration’s commitment to equitable, across-the-board, personal, regional, and national development.

The APNU+AFC’s youth programmes and various undertakings are not haphazard, ad hoc, or slapdash, as they were under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) (if they had any programme at all). Instead, the government’s approaches and interventions are guided by its National Youth Policy, which is a comprehensive plan for the development of Guyana’s young people.

Government’s approach to youth education includes an increase in the number of scholarships being made available to youth at all levels; investing in improving the public education system, which will make quality education available to all Guyanese, whether rich or not; expanding the Youth Innovative Project, geared towards creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and business expansion; innovative approaches towards education, based on scientific research; the establishment and continued expansion of Night School, aimed at giving dropouts a second chance at an education; taking action to reduce crime, so as to make the streets safer for students; the continued expansion of the president’s 5Bs programme, intended to increase school attendance in hinterland communities; and the list goes on. Clearly, government’s approach, which integrates education with job creation initiatives, demonstrates that the ultimate objective of the administration is the provision of fulfilling employment to all.  In other words, it is all about jobs, particularly for Guyana’s youth, regardless of where they live.

Guyanese are fortunate to have an honest leader who can be trusted to deliver what he promised. It is fortuitous that Guyana now can depend on the honest leadership of a president who tells the truth, and who can be depended upon to ensure that Guyana’s young people never again have to feel hopeless and weak. Instead, under the current leadership, one expects that Guyana’s youth may look forward to a bright, prosperous, and productive future.