Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry said there should be no discrimination against education, and every girl has the right to access education.

The Minister, who was delivering brief remarks at the launch of the 2016 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of the World Population Report today, emphasised that it is necessary for all to invest in the education of young girls across Guyana since the lack of education is the root of poverty, and dysfunctional 20161109 1

Failing to educate girls can hinder social and economic growth of countries and at the same time prevent girls’ personal growth. Therefore, investing in education is paramount to promoting growth in a country, the Minister stated. The benefits of educating girls can also bridge the gender gap, the Minister explained at the function at the Umana Yana.

Additionally, educated mothers help in the reduction of domestic violence since women can become more independent through education. Educated mothers would also result in less teenage pregnancies with higher awareness of health issues, and reduction in the rate of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), Minister Henry noted.

The minister posited that it is pivotal for investments to be made in girls’ education to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which underpin the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. “This would not only empower young girls, but will also promote faster economic growth which would benefit the country at large,” Minister Henry said.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, who also delivered remarks at the launch, noted that

Indigenous girls specifically, are challenged with having access to education due to poverty, transportation and especially because most of the communities are dispersed.

The Minister encouraged other participating Ministries and organisations to work together to help parents understand the importance of allowing young girls to have an education.

While sharing an anecdote of her mother not being able to attend school because her grandparents did not allow her, Minister Garrido-Lowe said that this is the case of many young girls in the hinterland. She congratulated Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence for her work in the hinterland communities. “By 2030 we can be able to say that young Indigenous girls are getting an education.”

Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson on the notion of non-traditional careers noted that, investing in girls’ education is an important step to take. The Minister encouraged young girls to get involved in non-traditional 20161109 2 She explained that for Guyana to be successful, government must invest in the children, today. Therefore, how Guyana moves forward is dependent on the type of career paths on which youths embark, she stated.

The Minister pointed out that there has been an increase in women in engineering, construction, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Police Force and even taxi drivers, likewise more men are also assuming positions that were dominated by females. “Therefore, be encouraged to participate in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics,” Minister Ferguson 20161109 3

Minister Ferguson also contended that young people must be encouraged to become employers and not employees. She noted that too often young girls are taught to become employees especially in the public sector. “That is why the government has implemented the National Youth Policy, since we see it important to groom young people to contribute socially and economically to Guyana’s development. We are committed to providing the good life for all,” Minister Ferguson explained.