Berbice UG opening delayed

Guyana Chronicle
September 13, 2000

THE opening of the University of Guyana Berbice Campus did not take place on Friday, September 8 as scheduled.

According to the Guyana Information Services, the opening has been postponed because of an impasse between the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University administration.

The entire Social Science teaching staff has declared that it will not work for the Berbice Campus if the University administration refuses a package of remuneration it has asked for.

The package includes 59 per cent of the basic salary of a Turkeyen lecturer for the duration of the first semester.

Those Turkeyen lecturers who go to Berbice are asking for an increase of 50 per cent of the basic salary which they earn at Turkeyen. The Social Science Faculty also wants duty-free concessions for lecturers who have to travel to Berbice.

Some Faculty members said that there will be no compromise on this demand. In addition, the academics want $7,000 per trip in lieu of accommodation. And a sum of $5,000 out of town allowance.

On Tuesday last, a group of academics met with the Administration who rejected the demand and offered 33 per cent increase on the basic salary. The UG bosses responded to the duty-free request by saying that was outside their jurisdiction.

In response to this, the Faculty called an emergency meeting the next day and passed an unopposed resolution saying it will have nothing to do with the Berbice Campus unless their request is reasonably considered.

The University of Guyana Berbice Campus has now received 231 applications from perspective students desirous of pursuing studies in various subject areas.

A number of persons have also submitted applications for positions on the staff of the Tain Campus, Port Mourant, Corentyne.

Applicants in both these categories are soon to be informed of the status of their applications. Registration of students and the commencement of lectures will follow immediately.

Nearly 200 applicants were deemed eligible last month for entry into the institution. But the Ministry of Education said it expects a more definite figure once the results of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) are released.

The Berbice Campus, an arm of the University of Guyana (UG) at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, was completed in the specified time period, furnished and is now ready for academic and administrative use.

All students accepted for studies in the Division of Arts and General Studies and Social Sciences at the Berbice Campus can be eligible to read for degrees in those subject areas.

In the first two years of its operation the Berbice Campus will offer Diploma Programmes in Arts and General Studies and Social Sciences as well as Certificates in Education.

The two-year Diploma and Certificate in Education are also the first two years of the Degree Programme.

Candidates who successfully complete the Diploma and Certificate in Education, may proceed directly to read for the Degree, which is said to require a further two years of study.

All graduating students will be computer literate, since plans are afoot to establish a computer laboratory at the Campus.

The Berbice Campus could develop a specialisation, which would reflect the specific characterisation of the Region. The intention is to develop programmes that are specific to the Region.

Despite the fact that Berbice produces approximately 50 per cent of Guyana's agriculture commodities, none of the teaching and research facilities are located in the Region.

There are no courses in the Natural Sciences, Agriculture and Technology.

The Vice-Chancellor said no science course will be offered initially because laboratory facilities are not available. However, such courses will be offered by next September when the laboratory facilities are expected to be made available. There is a possibility of using such facilities at existing schools.

The Berbice Campus houses six classrooms, each measuring 24 by 24 feet; a cafeteria, an administrative office, toilet block and a library.

Provisions have been made for the library and administrative office to be fully air- conditioned.

The entire institution, which measures 10,000 square feet, is on `built up' land to combat flooding.

The UG Berbice Campus seems destined to become a major cultural institution that would play a major role also enhancing moral and ethical standards.(GUYANA INFORMATION SERVICES)

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