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The award ceremony, which was hosted by the Commonwealth Youth Programme: Caribbean Centre (CYP:CC), was held in the conference room of the National Library.
Ms Elaine Thomas, Head of the Distance Education Department of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE), in giving an overview of the programme, explained that it began in January 1999 with 21 students.
These students were selected based on their responses to media advertisement and also by letters dispatched by the Director of Youth.
However, domestic or job-related problems forced 12 students to drop out of the programme, leaving only nine to complete it.
Ms Thomas said that covering the syllabus of the programme included the use of print material and involved classroom studies as well as interaction by telecommunication.
According to Ms. Thomas, of the three methods, tutoring by telephone proved to be the least effective. The students, she said, failed to grasp the concept of what was being taught.
Thomas noted that although the end result of the programme was quite satisfactory, the group faced many challenges.
She outlined some of these challenges as, the short supply of relevant reading material, high transportation costs and the high personal tragedies that the students faced. However, these problems she said were dealt with as quickly as possible.
Approximately 13 items of reading materials were used by the students in the programme. Documents included, ‘Young People and Society’, ‘Conflict Resolution’, ‘Environmental Issues’ and ‘Strategies and Skills’.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Gail Teixeira, commended the students for their perseverance in completing the course. She said that the society sees youths as a problem and this perception needs to be changed in order for nation to move forward.
The Minister further noted that the young people are very important to society to help in the fight against poverty, crime and security.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the Regional Director of CYP:CC, Mr. Armstrong Alexis, encouraged the students to utilise their newfound qualification to the best of their ability.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. James Rose, also gave the students words of encouragement.
Giving the remarks on behalf of the graduates was Best Graduating Student, Mr. Shelton Daniels. He thanked the tutors for their patience and their understanding shown him and his batch mates during the course.
The successful students are: Shelton Daniels, Dale Grant, Ashton London, Shirley Madray, Allison Matheson, Dollette Nicholson, Gavin Robertson, Solomon Singh and Hazel Wilson.