Power of educators as a central force remains undiminished
-- Prof James Rose tells Inter-Guianas meeting By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
October 24, 2002

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VICE-Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) Professor James Rose has stressed the importance of educators in fashioning the future of nations.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Inter-Guianas Conference at the Umana Yana on Tuesday, Professor Rose declared that "the power of educators as a central force remains undiminished" despite the vast changes that have taken place in the world.

He posited that the influence of educators lays in the minds of the young, the foundations for the future, and he expressed optimism that the youth of today would one day fashion the future of Guyana that would be "second to none."

The Vice-Chancellor observed that technological advances are changing modes of production.

As such, adjustments have to be made to accommodate the inevitable changes and the "role of the university is critical" in making those adjustments to meet the demands of today's world. He urged that there must be a willingness to apply technology and knowledge to everyday life in the resolution of the existing societal problems.

There is an umbilical linkage between knowledge and the solutions to the problems of the world, he said.

"It (knowledge) does not operate in a vacuum," Rose exhorted.

Education Minister of Suriname, Mr. Walter Sandriman, in reiterating the sentiments of Dr. Rose declared: "Knowledge is the key to sustainable development in this era of information."

He urged that universities play a more active role in the developmental process in the Guianas by helping to find solutions to problems and by setting up economically viable production systems.

The Surinamese official recalled that President Bharrat Jagdeo had delivered a similar message when he addressed university students during his visit to the neighbouring country earlier this year.

Sandriman reassured the conference that his government fully supports the initiative of collaboration among the Guianas, and is looking forward to Guyana and Suriname becoming members of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

He expressed the hope that out of the deliberations of the conference will emerge development strategies that will influence decision-makers to "stay on the right track."

Co-chairman of the Inter-Guianas University Partnership Programme Committee (IGUP), Dr. Mark Kirton, in giving an overview of the collaboration between the University of Guyana and Anton de Kom University of Suriname, said that a general agreement between the two institutions was signed in 1985.

Since then, he recalled, four conferences have been held and three books published on recommendations for policy-makers in the Inter-Guianas.

The subjects covered include governance, health issues, the environment and culture, he said.