Bernard's new geography text launched-to be used in schools

Stabroek News
September 15, 1999

A new geography text specifically for the use of Guyana's primary and secondary schools was launched on Monday afternoon by Universal Bookstore at the Georgetown Club.

The book, titled A New Geography of Guyana, is a comprehensive study of the physical and human aspects of the Guyanese landscape, with topics ranging from climate to resources to demography to tourism and transport.

Author Deryck Bernard is an experienced Guyanese educator and was a minister of education in the PNC government. At present, he is a senior lecturer attached to the University of Guyana (UG).

Bernard commented on the preparation that went into making the project a success, labelling it "not a lot of work but a labour of love." He dedicated the new work to the late Lester Cummings, who was the author of the first Geography of Guyana, and a shining example to him.

Bernard also praised his family, UG staffers and members of the Geography Department, who, he stated, helped in no small measure to enable completion of the project. Similar sentiments were expressed about Ovid and Selina Holder, owners of Universal Bookstore, who encouraged him every step of the way.

Speaking to Stabroek News afterwards, the author said that his book was the only up-to-date Geography text in the system which provided recent research material including advice to teachers and students on the methodology of fieldwork. As such, he views it as a necessary tool for the school programme.

The highlight of the evening's proceedings was the feature address by Minister of Education, Dr Dale Bisnauth, who traced the lengthy friendship that existed between himself and the author which transcended the realms of politics.

He described himself and Bernard as "academics masquerading as politicians," who shared a passion for education despite the partisan political divide.

The minister further stated that it would be an understatement to say that Bernard deserved praise since the book was beautifully presented with illustrations which had the potential to place Guyana firmly on the map.

Education, the minister pointed out, was suffering due to staleness of the curriculum, and drudgery that the nation's children are made to suffer at the hands of educators. He noted that text books were a necessary tool in developing education and the new book was going to add freshness to the subject.

Dr Bisnauth urged wide readership of the publication, which he stated would be used in schools. He gave a commitment on behalf of the ministry to purchase 1,000 copies of the text for use in local schools.

The evening's proceedings were brought to a close by an inspirational vote of thanks by Dr Ian McDonald who articulated the notion that reading broadens one's imagination and that there was no greater achievement in life than to have written a book that could be read by young Guyanese and others to help in moulding their minds.

Following the formalities, signed copies of the text were presented to members of the head table who included Rev Oswald Best of St Andrew's Kirk, who opened the ceremony with prayers; acting British High Commissioner, Colin Brazier, who also made brief remarks; Bisnauth; Dr McDonald; and the chairman of the evening's proceedings, Kester Alves.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples