117 graduate from UG's Berbice campus By Daniel Da Costa
Stabroek News
November 28, 2003

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It was a time of joy and celebration on Saturday afternoon for scores of graduates and their immediate families and friends when the Berbice Campus of the University of Guyana held its second convocation at Tain Village on the lower Corentyne.

While some 117 students obtained the required pass to graduate, less than 100 were present to receive their associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

The graduation exercise was preceded by the traditional pomp and ceremony in-cluding the ProChancellor's procession which was led by the Registrar, Dr. David Chanderbali.

The best graduating student was Jasodra Ramsaran from the Division of Social Sciences who copped the NBIC Award for this achievement.

She also won the Laparkan and Banks DIH prizes for being the best graduating student in the Diploma in Accountancy Programme.

Other outstanding students were Ryan Michael who was adjudged the best graduating student in the Division of Natural Sciences and Agriculture and the best graduating student in the Associate Degree in Science (Chemistry) Programme.

For his performance, he was awarded the A. Ally and Sons, the NBS and DDL prizes.

The second best graduating student was Pamela Rose who passed with distinction in obtaining a diploma in Arts and General Studies (English).

The convocation was declared open by recently appointed Pro-Chancellor Dr. Prem Misir while the main address was delivered by one of his predecessors, Dr. Martin Boodhoo, now a management consultant.

Members of the Guyana Police Force Band under the baton of Assistant Commissioner Cecil Bovell came in for special commendation as they spiced up the late afternoon's proceedings with a number of entertaining renditions to the delight of the large gathering seated under a huge tarpaulin.

Director of the campus, Dr. Parsram Thakur in a brief address alluded to the problems that still confront the three-year old campus and noted that "if the problems are in Berbice then the solution cannot come from Turkeyen (the main UG campus)." Then he stated candidly: "This is not a feudal system and the Berbice Campus is not vassalage.

We would like collegial consultancy, not a big brother to watch over. We must now begin to cut the umbilical cord.

Turkeyen has done well to help but we need to grow on our own, more and more."

The gathering included parents, guardians, and special invitees, among them, government ministers, Drs. Leslie Ramsammy and Jennifer Westford, and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. James Rose.

The Director also declared: "Mr. ProChancel-lor there is a serious lack of intellectual honesty at the University. There are too many hidden agendas. The word transparency seems merely an academic exercise. It is found mainly in the library in a place called the dictionary. We need far more translation and less dictation. What is worse is our inability and/or refusal to honestly discuss the problem. It has become a forbidden subject, forbidden knowledge. An institution that refuses to internally examine itself is doomed. I feel like a voice in the wilderness."

He then touched on an area which he said has adversely affected socio-economic development.

"In spite of the fact that UG has over the last 37 years produced thousands of graduates, our country is still suffering from a shortage of qualified and experienced personnel in many fields. Migration has had and is having a debilitating impact on performance capability in both the public and private sectors of the economy as well as non-governmental organisations. We have lost too many of our talented professionals."

He concluded by telling the graduates that "education is not an end itself. It is a valuable tool to improve the quality of life both at the personal and societal levels. Education without morality is a weapon for corruption and exploitation. Tread carefully and avoid such temptations in your future professional role."

Certificates were awarded to students in the fields of Education Administration, Geography, History, Mathe-matics, Nursery Education, Social Studies and Primary Education. Associate degrees were awarded in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. Diplomas were awarded in Computer Science, Account-ancy, Marketing, Public Management and Social Work.