Please allow me space in your column to voice my opinion on a rapid expansion of higher education in Guyana through a possible four two-year degree-granting community colleges. With the anticipated rapid expansion (2022 budget) of the country, higher education is a necessary condition to keep pace with sustainable development in other sectors. These colleges, based on demographic considerations, could be on the coast of Essequibo, Linden and Lethem and between the west coast of Berbice and the east coast of Demerara. An ideal way to decentralize higher education.
There are a number of distinct advantages in community college education: most students can live at home or at the workplace while attending college; per capita, the two-year community college education is much cheaper and serves as an on-the-job upgrade for nurses, police, teachers, and government. parastatals. The government could seriously consider recruiting adult students on the principle of prior learning assessment (APP). There are far too many (potential) students who, for a myriad of reasons, have been forced out of school. Based on my own research in rural Guyana, there are dozens of potential students – especially women – lingering with few job opportunities who are “academic material”.
At first, these colleges can be located in secondary and primary schools, in the evenings and on weekends. Instructors, holders of a second diploma, from the community can be recruited. Experience has shown that distance and online learning, while very attractive, may not yield the best results for many of these students. There must be a communication link between these colleges (managed by a board) and the University of Guyana where introductory courses can be selected from the colleges, making it easier for graduate students requiring transfer to a program leading to a degree at UG. With a community college program in place, the University of Guyana can focus more on postgraduate programs and other professional fields.