Universities in Guyana

Universities in Guyana by City:

Greater Georgetown

About universities in Guyana

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana is a sovereign country on the northern coast of South America and the third-smallest independent country on the continent in terms of land area.  Guyana’s northern borders also abut the outer edge of the Caribbean Sea, and as such, the country is known as the only non-island Caribbean state.  Once a colony of the Dutch and later of the United Kingdom, Guyana achieved independence in 1966, and became a republic 4 years later on February 23, 1970.  It is currently the only country of the Commonwealth of Nations on mainland South America whose official language is English.
Like the country itself, the higher education system in Guyana is relatively small and very simple, consisting of only a handful of institutions.  Only one of these, the first in the country and by far the largest, is a public university, with the others being private schools that are not nearly as comprehensive or developed.
Public Higher Education in Guyana:  Access
In Guyana public higher education is open to all individuals who meet the minimum requirements.  This policy of universal access was summed up neatly by the Ministry of Education in an ordinance that was handed down after the country gained its independence in 1966.  It read, “Men and women shall be eligible for admission to and as students of the public university…and NO religious, political or racial test shall be imposed on or required of any person in order to entitle him or her to be a student or member of the university…” 
This was a major shift in a once elitist education system, one that meant admission for students to post-secondary institutions was now merely a matter of satisfying the specific admission criteria for the various institutions.  At the university level, these qualifications included:
  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Must have successfully completed upper secondary education or the equivalent
  • Successful passing of the entrance examination (certain fields of study only)
Public Higher Education: Structure
In terms of structure, the public higher education institutions in Guyana have for many years now followed the traditional European utilitarian model of education in which the main emphasis is placed on developing Guyana’s human resources as a means to ensuring the needs of the government and society as a whole are continually met.  Research, applied and theoretical, is encouraged by the Guyanese government and the institutions; however, most of the public resources allocated to the higher education system are spent in the area of instruction.
At the undergraduate level, there are two types of educational tracks a student can follow:  courses leading to first degrees and programs that lead to diplomas or certificates.  First degrees, which are equivalent to the Bachelor Degree in the U.S. and Europe, are available in a number of different academic subjects, while the diploma and certificate programs are typically focused on professional career-oriented fields.
Graduate education, at both the public and private level, is very limited in Guyana, with advanced degrees only offered in a handful of academic disciplines.  According to the Guyanese government, the majority of graduate-level students in Guyana pursue their education via the distance education model, taking classes online that are administered by universities outside the country.
The entire higher education system in Guyana is overseen by the Ministry of Education, and while the government does provide some level of guidance to private institutions, its main focus is maintaining and overseeing the public system at all levels, leaving private schools to essentially fend for themselves, with very little interference from the national government.

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