The University of Guyana (UG) has turned the sod for the construction of a $120M Early Childhood Centre which will offer child care, teaching and research services at its Turkeyen campus.
The centre will be the third of its kind in the Caribbean, following those at the University of West Indies’ Trinidad and Jamaica campuses.
With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Ministry of Finance’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), the centre will provide an appropriate learning environment for young children and research opportunities for the university.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan who was part of Friday’s ceremony said six child care centres were set up in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 under the seventh and eight cycles of the BNTF. However, the UG facility will offer unparalleled services.
“What makes this centre of excellence, which will be established in the ninth cycle unique, is that it will be the apex centre. It will be the ‘primus inter pares’, the “first among equals,” Minister Jordan stated.
He added that the vision was to provide a safe, secure and nurturing childhood in which young children could grow, learn and develop their full potential as Guyanese.
BNTF’s Project Manager Dikkedemma Utoh said the facility would expand and deepen the university’s contribution to the development and care of Guyanese children among other things.
“This centre will no doubt transform the delivery of early childhood education here at UG. It will also transform the landscape of the Turkeyen campus and improve the university’s relationship with the surrounding communities,” he said.
The centre will cater for 120 babies and toddlers, with a staff of 31. It will also offer quality early childhood development, promoting inclusion and rights of children with disabilities, and will push women empowerment through access to tertiary level education.