Guyana, currently in the middle of fundamental economic transformation, is prioritizing human capital development to improve opportunities for its people. At the center of these efforts are investments in education.
With the World Bank's support, Guyana is set to welcome the opening of a new secondary school, Good Hope in the upcoming school year. This new addition will join Westminster Secondary School, which was completed in 2021. Furthermore, preparations are underway for the construction of Prospect Secondary School, aiming to expand educational opportunities for secondary school students in the country even further.
During the last years the demand for quality secondary education has been outpacing the available school spaces. To bridge this gap temporarily, the Government of Guyana established Secondary Departments (SD) at Primary Schools, but the resulting poor learning conditions – overpopulated classrooms, lack of laboratories, equipment, and specialty rooms - called for a more sustainable solution.
It was clear that the country needed to invest in quality school facilities dedicated to the secondary level. To support Guyana in these efforts, the World Bank provided financing for the design, construction, and supervision of three new schools. The completion of Good Hope and Westminster secondary schools has created 1,800 additional spaces for students in the secondary education system, bringing the percentage of students enrolled in General Secondary Schools from 87 percent to 93 percent by transferring students from SD departments.
These new schools not only offer increased capacity, but also provide an improved learning environment for students. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and specialty rooms, they offer a comprehensive curriculum to enhance learning outcomes. This investment in quality school infrastructure aims to increase enrollment rates, reduce dropout levels, and uplift the overall educational experience of students in Guyana.
”We want a holistic education system. And we must acknowledge (that not all regions have the same opportunities) because it is an important point to note that for education to be delivered in an even way, this requires even investment across every single region to ensure that all children have an opportunity to be the best they can be.” said the President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali at the inauguration ceremony of the Good Hope school.
“The investment in high quality school infrastructure will benefit many generations of Guyanese students. This will allow students that have previously been housed in SDs in primary schools to continue education beyond grade 9, and provide them with new opportunities. This is an investment for the future of Guyana.” - added Guyana's Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Saddam Hussain.
The impact of these new schools is particularly significant for rural areas, where the shortage of educational institutions exacerbates existing vulnerabilities. By expanding access to quality education in underserved regions, the project strives to empower students, improve their educational prospects, and ultimately contribute to the socioeconomic development of Guyana as a whole.
“My daughter has had to travel far to attend secondary school, we are therefore very excited about the commissioning of Good Hope, which will allow her to not only attend school closer to home but in quality facilities.” - shared a parent.
This work is part of the wider efforts under the newly approved Strengthening Human Capital Through Education Project and other projects within the World Bank's education portfolio in Guyana. The new project aims to enhance various aspects of the education sector in Guyana, focusing on two key areas: improving access and learning conditions in secondary education and facilitating access to technical and vocational education and training that aligns with the identified labor market needs. Through the Strengthening Human Capital Through Education Project, the World Bank is working alongside Guyana to build a strong foundation for human capital development in the country, and beyond.