The Private Hindu College In Guyana: Best Practices In Diaspora Engagement

Abstract – Rising amid a failing education system in the Caribbean is an unassuming, yet extraordinary high school/college in Guyana. It is the Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) established by Swami Aksharananda, Ph.D., in 2003, on a solid academic and religious foundation. In 2015, SVN produced the Caribbean’s top student for Business Studies, and Guyana’s top two performers in the CSEC exams. The school has an almost 100% pass rate with some students attaining Grade Ones in up to 19 or 20 subjects. At one of the school’s graduation ceremonies, President David Granger of Guyana said: “I always tell others that if they wish to know what a school should be like, they should visit SVN.”

Based on interviews, site visits, and library and internet research, this paper seeks to address the following questions: (a) How has Swami been able to successfully engage the Guyanese Diaspora to contribute tangibly to the success of this private Hindu college in Cornelia Ida, WCD, that the school has been able to be surpassed only by the long-established (1844), State-funded Queen’s College in Guyana? (b) What are the challenges that need to be addressed by the State before the full potential of the diaspora engagement can be unlocked? And (c) how can the success of SVN be used as an example to advance comparative and theoretical knowledge on diaspora engagement practices and policies in Guyana?

Source: World Hindu News (WHN)