I have taken note of a letter in the Stabroek News on July 29, 2021 under the headline “Without internet accessibility GOAL will remain an elusive dream for potential hinterland scholars”. I wish to respond to the author, S. Fredericks, in hopes of offering some clarity based on what I have gathered and questions which I raised at the GOAL outreach in my area. There is more work to be done especially in the hinterland regions to provide more stable and reliable internet access; there is no doubt that hinterland scholars that will benefit from the GOAL initiative will face some challenges in certain areas. However, before I go further, I would like to pose this question to the author…should these individuals in the hinterland regions just sit around and wait for better internet access? Or, should they use the little internet that they have presently to make use of every opportunity as best as they can?
In my view, despite the challenges, it would be better to utilize the GOAL opportunities now rather than sit idly by and wait for better internet access. One of the questions that I raised during the GOAL scholarship outreach in my area was how reliant the online programmes are on internet connectivity as I am aware of the internet issues we all face from time to time. I was informed that many of the scholarship programmes are not solely reliant on real time internet connectivity since students will be able to complete assignments and projects using flash drives and other memory devices at their convenience. These assignments and projects can be uploaded to their respective university’s platform or through other mediums as specified by the lecturers. With this in mind, hinterland scholars will not be at a great disadvantage per se should they face internet issues since there will most likely be measures put in place for such cases.
Further, as far as I am aware, the Government is working on building and strengthening internet infrastructure throughout Guyana, specifically, the hinterland regions. The author raised some good points with regard to internet infrastructure being costly and so forth which I agree with. In that regard, I believe that all we can do at this point is keep on lending our support to the Government as they continue to embark on building and strengthening such infrastructure across the country. The truth is that we are not at ground zero. The process to provide reliable internet throughout Guyana has already commenced and I believe that the next few years will bear testimony to those efforts.