The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) is the premier provider of globally competitive curriculum development services, examinations, certification and education services in the Caribbean. It offers the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) by which the region is assessed academically at the high school level. These certificates are equivalent to the United States high school diploma and allow the holder entry to tertiary institutions.
Guyana has a total of 180,000 pupils enrolled in primary and secondary education. Of these pupils, 88,000 are enrolled in secondary education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). In keeping with the vision for an education nation, Budget 2017 reflected the Government’s vested interest with an allocation of 17.2 percent (over $43billion) to advancements in education. Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, in his address during the Budget Debates, said that the administration’s main objective is to improve access to and quality of education across all regions of Guyana.
This great feat is a testimony to the level of priority placed by the Guyana government on the development of the education sector and its continued investment in the enhancement of the quality of education provided to Guyanese, equipping them with essential skills that will prepare them for the working environment. “The level of achievement and progress that a country makes depends on its education system. As such, we will remain focused – as a Government and as a Ministry – on providing an enabling environment for our students so that they will continue to excel. Moreover, we hope that this quality of excellence will serve as benchmarks so that all students of Guyana can aspire to this quality of achievement.” Former Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand. Within the last decade, Guyana has been consistently outshining its Caribbean counterparts at the CXC awards because of its excellent performance in dominating three categories: Overall Outstanding Performance, Best Overall Science and Best Business Studies. In 2017, Guyana won six (6) of the eight (8) regional CXC awards available, namely: Overall Outstanding Achievement, Most Outstanding in Humanities, Most Outstanding in Sciences, Most Outstanding in Business Studies, Most Outstanding in Technical Vocational and Best Short Story. In addition to this, Guyana also copped three (3) of the five (5) CAPE awards in the categories of Business Studies, Mathematics and Natural Science.
Sadly though, Guyana is not generating enough quality jobs to keep its workforce satisfied. The unemployment rate is high, which forces many Guyanese to leave the shores of Guyana in search of better career opportunities. This also is a contributing factor to the slow growth in the population numbers over the past four decades. For this reason, it is said that there are more Guyanese out than in Guyana.
Bridging this gap is the developing BPO industry in Guyana. With employment numbers going well into the thousands and growing exponentially, more Guyanese are choosing BPO-driven jobs as a career path. They can continue studying at the tertiary level while working part time or full time, and in most instances, the company benefits from these skilled talents as they choose to stay and grow with the organizations, often developing into senior roles. Starting agents are averaging a net of US$300 to US$350 a month, which is extremely competitive. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-2015, the cost of local labor in Guyana is not only low but is also among the most productive in the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) region.
This is a win-win for the BPO industry since clients benefit from having both native English speaking talents on their account as well as one of quality. These talents can handle the increasingly complex workload required as customer service jobs become more automated, giving Guyana a strong competitive advantage for organizations that need flexibility and envisions growing their footprint and expanding their offerings.