UG Berbice Campus problems may be resolved in time for opening

Guyana Chronicle
September 16, 2000

PROBLEMS with University of Guyana lecturers may be resolved in time for the opening of the Berbice Campus, according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon.

He told a news conference yesterday the difficulties that have surfaced in the staffing arrangement for the tutorial staff at the Berbice Campus were raised at Cabinet.

According to the government official, it seems to be an "in-house" problem that might be resolvable.

The university had hoped to have full time lecturers at the Berbice Campus but Head of the UG Berbice Campus Task Force, Dr Marlene Cox, said faculties made only a few recommendations for full time appointments from among the applicants who responded to vacancies in the press for lecturers.

As a result, lecturers from the UG Turkeyen base are needed to teach the programmes at the Berbice Campus.

It was stipulated that such lecturers teach only one course per semester at Berbice. Most courses carry three to four hours of lectures or tutorials per week, depending on the course.

The Berbice Campus Task Force had discussions on the package that Turkeyen lecturers should be given for teaching at Berbice.

But there was movement on the part of the administration from the package originally offered.

The last offer on September 5 was a salary of one third of the lecturer's basic monthly salary, travelling allowance of $7,000 per return trip, accommodation, travel insurance and a per diem allowance determined by the number of hours absent from Turkeyen which amount to $4,500 for 24 hours absence.

On September 6, the Faculty of Social Sciences rejected that proposal and told the administration it would "take no further part in any of the administrative and teaching activities relating to the Berbice Campus".

They want duty free concessions for the purchase of cars, 50 per cent of their monthly basic salary, $8,000 travelling per return trip indexed to inflation and a per diem allowance of $5,000 for 24 hours absence from Turkeyen.

The lecturers in the impasse have stated that their position is "non-negotiable" and are holding out that they want duty-free concessions to purchase vehicles.

The keys to the Berbice Campus are due to be handed over to the administration Monday.

The original ceremony planned on September 8 did not take place because construction of the Berbice Campus was incomplete.

It is anticipated that classes at the Berbice Campus will begin as soon as the campus is furnished. The formal opening is likely to take place in November, officials said this week.

Once it receives the keys, the central university has to equip the Berbice Campus library, offices, four classrooms and a computer room.

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