The Berbice Campus - the people's award
by Prem Misir
November 15, 2000
THE restoration of real democracy by the PPP/Civic Administration in 1992 was well received by both the national and international community.
A second rejuvenation that is long overdue, is the extension of the University of Guyana, indisputably the brainchild of the former President of Guyana, Dr Cheddi Jagan.
The first extension is that of the Berbice Campus where classes have now begun. It is hoped that the Berbice Campus will re-establish the original aims of higher education as determined in the 1960's, consistent with regional and international educational goals.
The original aims, undoubtedly, will speed up the return to academic excellence and educational provision, germane to nation building. Due to the country's small size, the University of Guyana, as it approaches the 21st century, must be seen as an institution that plays a formative role in student life, contributes to the economic growth of the state, and defines the nation's research agenda.
The first issue, from a policy perspective, we need to address at the Berbice Campus is an examination of undergraduate education. The Berbice Campus must be the outlet for all those who need a tertiary education.
At the undergraduate level, the campus must inculcate skills that could be imparted to students in a technologically-based society, and connect those skills with the experiences required by a global economy. Undergraduate education could be enhanced if the Turkeyen and Berbice campuses are electronically linked. Establishing a digital library would further improve this process.
The Berbice Campus must apportion additional weighting to the value of research and its strategic role in the economic health of Berbice and the nation. A knowledge-based society needs strong orientation to research, which is our second issue that needs to be examined for the Berbice Campus.
A third issue pertains to the service mission. Knowledge created on the campus must be actively disseminated to industry, elementary, high schools, and other institutions of higher learning. Active dissemination will surely encourage industries to assimilate new development, facilitating greater efficiency and effectiveness in the achievement of goals.
The Berbice Campus will meet a long outstanding, growing demand for higher education outside of Georgetown. Its greatest strength and test will be its capacity to perform the research function in a knowledge-based world.
A faculty with an enduring research capacity and productivity will be an asset for the campus.
Let's all make the Berbice Campus a people's campus.
Join with the President and his administration, and the people of Berbice in the formal opening of the Berbice Campus on Sunday, November 19, 2000.
When the history is written, Berbice Campus will endure as a spectacular higher education feat, notwithstanding its humble rural beginnings. (Broadcast today on GBC)
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