APNU+AFC Media Release

For immediate release

Friday, September 4, 2020

PPP intellectual dishonesty continues

Coursera courses ongoing for several years; free courses available to anyone

The Ministry of Education recently announced a collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning, to provide free access to 4,000 online courses via the Coursera online learning platform – www.coursera.org

A check on the Ministry of Education website http://education.gov.gy/UpSkill claims that:

“The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Education in collaboration with The Commonwealth of Learning is making a wide variety of short courses on the Coursera learning platform available FREE of cost until December 31st 2020.”

Interested persons are asked to complete a google form by the 30 September 2020 to be considered for the programme.

However, a further examination of the proposed intervention raises some important questions as we are accustomed to intellectual dishonesty and fraud from this administration.

For those that do not know Coursera, has been providing free online classes for several years. They are self-paced and require around 2 hours a week. These courses are offered through partnership with various universities, typically based in the United States. Courses take the format of webinars, assignments, group discussions on message boards and reading homework. At the end of the requisite hours and assessment, the learner is awarded with an e-certificate (which requires a fee). You can apply for Financial Aid if you cannot afford the fee. Or you can opt to not receive a certificate.

Further checks of the Coursera website reveal no formal partnership with The Commonwealth of Learning: https://www.coursera.org/about/partners. The platform does however have an ongoing relationship with The Commonwealth Education Trust that has designed a number of courses related to Education.

Commonwealth of Learning on the other hand, according to its website, works across a number of countries in an aim to build capacity and ensure access to training and education. It was difficult finding clear information on what will be offered via Coursera and if the programme offers anything substantially unique.

The Coursera + COL + MoE link remains unclear. Meanwhile MoE is collecting applications in what appears to be a data gathering exercise, under the veil of actual work. A disclaimer at the end of the application indicates that an applicant should expect to be contacted from Coursera directly to start a course. The application does not provide applicants with the option to choose any course of their own interest. Even the fake University of Uitvlugt gave such an option.

Coursera’s platform of thousands of free courses remains open to anyone, from any country. Registration requires an email address.