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The Forbes Burnham Foundation Awards and Mentorship Scheme
by FBF
Posted on 2013-09-25

The Forbes Burnham Foundation held its inaugural Awards and Mentorship Scheme on Sunday, 8th September, 2013 at the Critchlow Labour College, Woolford Avenue. The event which commenced at approximately 15:30hrs with a reciting of the National Anthem witnessed the induction of 19 students into the scheme. The inductees were children of the parents attached to the Georgetown District of the People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the University of Guyana Workers' Unions.
Mrs. Dionne Frank, a professional Social Worker and Head of Department of Sociology at the University of Guyana and also Chairperson of the Scheme, gave an overview of the Scheme. In her overview, she made clear that the scheme will be working with the students from grade 7 to grade 10. It will work towards imparting skills in the area of craft, academia, and personal development. Apart from skills training, the inductees will benefit from educational tours, annual camps, career guidance and medical checkups, including dental checkups, on an annual basis. She also made clear that apart from working with the students, the Scheme would also work with the parents to impart the necessary parenting skill to enable parents to make the best decisions for their children.

The featured address was delivered by Vincent Alexander, Chairman of the Foundation. After highlighting the importance the late President Forbes Burnham, in whose honour the foundation was established, attached to the education of the nation's youths, he explained that education does not mean simply repeating what was told by teachers and instructors, but it's about being able to think; being able to use the knowledge for the job or situation they find themselves in. It's about learning to think and to solve complex problems in life. He also made reference to existing crises in the education sector and in the family, two institutions that are crucial to the socialisation and moulding of the youths of the nation. In the case of the family, apart from the fact that many families are headed by female single parents, there are also a growing number of sibling-headed households in which the persons tasked with the responsibility of bringing up the children lack both the material necessities and the parenting skills necessary. It is against this backdrop that the Scheme seeks to supplement the efforts of the education system and the families in adequately preparing the students for adult life and responsibilities. He concluded his address by challenging the students to take the scheme seriously.

As part of the induction ceremony, the students received their first awards in the form of a gift bag containing essential educational appurtenances such as dictionaries, geometry sets, etc. They will also soon benefit from the wise and experienced counsel of positive role models in society who would lend their helping hands in contributing to mould them into responsible young adults.

The scheme was originally the brain child of the Georgetown District of the PNCR whose members managed the scheme for a number of years positively impacting the lives of numerous youths. For a number of years, however, the scheme was dormant. It was then decided by the Board of the Forbes Burnham foundation to resuscitate the scheme maintaining largely intact its original intent, format, and some of its personnel.

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