UG to get $40M classrooms lift
Cheddi Jagan Endowment Fund to finance project
Stabroek News
October 27, 2001

The University of Guyana (UG) is to get desperately needed classrooms under a $40M project to be financed by the Cheddi Jagan Endowment Fund

Work is expected to start on the construction of additional classrooms in another two weeks.

The project, which is slated to be completed by March 2002, will cater for some 250 to 300 students according to engineer and the fund's trustee, Bert Carter. The three storey-building will be 95 ft long and 25 feet wide. The building contractor for the job is currently being selected.

In brief remarks at the turning-of-the sod ceremony opposite the New Building Society Dormitory on the Turkeyen campus last evening, Acting Vice Chancellor Dr James Rose said that if the building could be completed by March 2002 it will take the pressure off the administration but the classrooms would be especially welcome for the start of the September 2002 academic year.

Noting that over the years the student population of the University has grown but there has not been corresponding expansion in classroom space, he said "it is not easy to accommodate 600 students in a classroom built for 100 students. It is not good for the learning process and it does not send the right messages."

Giving a background to student intake over the years, he noted that UG began with 164 students at Queen's College during the Cheddi Jagan administration in the 1960s. With funding from the Canadian Government and Bookers, which provided land, the Turkeyen campus was opened in 1969 with 1,000 students. With additional funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the creation of additional classroom space the enrolment rose to 3,500 in 1995. Last year the enrolment was 5,000.

Given the growth in the student population, Dr Rose said that one quite naturally would have expected a corresponding increase in classroom space but that did not materialise. In recent years at every Academic Board Meeting, he said the administration would make demands for additional classroom space. The pressure, he said, was so great that a former vice chancellor suggested limiting the intake of students. This set in motion a search to see what assistance could be obtained from government and the private sector.

He said he was very happy when the trustees of the endowment fund said they had a few dollars and would provide the funds.

He appealed to those "sufficiently endowed" to follow the example of the endowment fund and make similar contributions for the construction of more classrooms.

According to Chairman of the Endowment Fund, businessman Yesu Persaud, the turning-of-the-sod ceremony coincided with the 8th anniversary of the official launching of the fund on October 29, 1993. It was named for President Jagan who passed away in 1997. The contributions to the fund came entirely from the private sector. The fund is still open for more contributions. The other trustees are Dr Leslie Chin and Carter. (Miranda La Rose)