Guyanese to benefit from equal opportunity, access to world-class education with launch of Coursera Platform

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali with some of the beneficiaries of the free online programmes

To deliver first-class education to citizens, Government has launched the Guyana Coursera Platform which offers free certificate courses in over 6000 disciplines – an initiative, which, President Dr Irfaan Ali said, would ensure equal opportunity for every Guyanese across the country.

The Guyana Coursera Platform was launched on Friday, and already, some 1000 individuals were set to undergo the registered nurse programme through online learning, with another 800 registered for the Nursing Assistant Programme.

In his feature address, President Ali stated that this initiative would enhance not only the delivery of world-class education but also accessibility to world-class education for scores of Guyanese.

Stakeholders at Friday’s launch of the Guyana Coursera Platform

“When I spoke of accessibility to world-class education, today, a student from Queen’s College or a student who now qualifies under the GOAL (Guyana Online Academy of Learning) with the secondary reintegration programme can both access a Cambridge, a Yale, a Columbia [University] programme through Coursera.”

“That is what is called equal opportunity. That is what will fill the gap. That is what we called building to avoid inequality and disparity. That is what is designing policies to meet an equitable and prosperous future for every single Guyanese. That is the core behind the principle that we’re pursuing,” the Guyanese Leader posited.

Coursera is one of the world’s leading online learning platforms, with over 142 million registered learners, based on its December 2023 statistics. The portal also boasts partnerships with over 325 top universities and institutions, including Yale University and John Hopkins.

With these credentials, President Ali said, Coursera is advancing the Government’s vision of providing quality and accessibility in the education sector.

He challenged Coursera executives to utilise artificial intelligence and virtual experiences to boost the delivery of education, expanding the range of programmes offered to include a wider cross-section of the country.

“We can use your platform to design the first specialised degree and postgraduate degree programme in biodiversity studies in our forests, attaching that programme to a leading university, and launching it as a global product. That is the challenge we must now put before ourselves,” the President urged.

The Head of State further chronicled a step-by-step improvement plan for the sector, to position the country as a hub for world-class online education.

“We don’t see this as the end-all. We are now looking to position Guyana as the main hub for Latin America and the Caribbean for Coursera and for what you have to offer in this region. To do this, we have to work on building a diversified platform that would cater for all languages and all requirements of the region,” President Ali explained.

With this robust agenda, the President said that the Government is changing lives, presenting beacons of hope to countless Guyanese who seek opportunities to improve their lives.

“Persons who are home, never having the opportunity to study… now, under the GOAL programme and this programme, for the first time, are graduating by the hundreds across our country. They now have that opportunity to smile with dignity, because they believe in themselves, and they have achieved by believing in themselves, and the system built a platform that allowed them to believe in themselves, and allowed them to attain their dream. That is a system that is meeting the requirements of the people,” the Guyanese Leader declared.

Guyana’s relationship with Coursera started back in 2020 when the Government signed a deal to offer free certificate courses to citizens at all levels who were forced to stay at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.