Berbice UG campus on track for Sept launch
- initial intake to be 150 to 200

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
January 17, 2000

The Berbice campus of the University of Guyana will open its doors come September at John's, Port Mourant on the Corentyne with an initial intake of between 150 to 200 students.

This disclosure was made by Education Minister Dr Dale Bisnauth on Thursday when a team of education officials met members of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCC&DA) at the Chamber's office located in the Church View Hotel building in New Amsterdam.

The faculty will be housed in the former John's Ville senior citizens home perched on 19 acres of land.

It is less than one mile from the birth place of the late president Dr Cheddi Jagan at Anchorville.

According to Dr Bisnauth a survey was conducted of prospective students between Mahaicony and Skeldon which indicated that most were desirous of pursuing studies in business. He disclosed that the campus will focus on four main areas - social sciences, humanities and education, agriculture and natural sciences and distance and continuing education.

BCC&DA President Mohamed Raffik in brief welcoming remarks told the team of officials that the Berbice campus has always been of interest to the Chamber. "We are therefore heartened by the decision to establish a university campus in Berbice", he said.

Dr James Rose, who is coordinating the establishment of the campus, said that "the campus will be headed by a principal and will be staffed with coordinators of the various faculties and a librarian. The library will be established by June while the laboratories will be available by September".

Dr Rose disclosed that the response to the agriculture and technology courses was disappointing. Explaining that over the years the Faculty of Agriculture has not grown despite numerous entreaties, the historian said "despite the poor response we are still going ahead with the agriculture course".

Emphasising that accreditation is very important, Dr Rose, responding to concerns, said "over a period of time some programmes would have to be introduced to satisfy the peculiarities of Berbice". The eventual intake of the campus, he said, would be between 1,000 to 2,000 annually.

According to Dr Bisnauth "the Berbice campus will not only be a clone of the University of Guyana but will respond to the special developmental needs of Berbice. Its programmes will have to respond to the needs of Berbicians".

In response to a question raised by a member of the Chamber, the minister said "one campus will not develop to the detriment of the other" while positing that "the administration of the University of Guyana must exhibit more prudence in its management of its resources, including its financial resources".

The minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Hydar Ally and Director of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education, Samuel Small.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples