It is easy to fool overseas universities
January 28, 2004
Mr. Creighton continues his art of deception when he replies to critics in his letter captioned, "UG graduates are recognised by the best academic institutions" (25.1.2004). My intention in this commentary here is not to derogate UG; as a lecturer there, I am satisfied over the past eighteen years I have walked the extra-mile for this place. No one at UG could ever accuse me of "milking" UG and getting goodies from UG. Outside of my salary, I have never had a research grant or a travel grant or been given an overseas trip.
My Creighton should be confronted each time he pens a defence in the newspapers about UG. And this is because there is a deliberate intention to evade and digress so as to whitewash facts he cannot deny. How could the Stabroek News require a response from Mr. Creighton about Dr. Beharry's accusations without printing those accusations? It is unfair media intervention and unfair journalism. (Editor's note: Dr Beharry's letter was published on November 28, 2003).
Here are some of the egregious attempts to mislead by Mr. Creighton. One - he does not reply to the specific charges of Dr. Beharry about the missing required chemicals and lab equipment (editor's note: Mr Creighton did reply comprehensively to Dr Beharry's letter on the December 20, 2003. A further letter from Dr Beharry has been sent to Mr Creighton for a response). Instead we are told that UG cannot be all that bad when our graduates are accepted outside. But it is easy to fool outside universities. Here is how it works. If in microbiology, you are required to do labs and there are no lab facilities, then you are tested on theoretical stuff. So your transcript shows you did a course in microbiology. How then would other universities know this to question your pass grade in microbiology?
Two - Creighton says that UG has to be good because other universities take our graduates to do post-graduate work. But Guyanese industries are not taking UG graduates. Two of Guyana's leading entrepreneurs - Messrs. Clifford Reis and Yesu Persaud have openly said that they are not satisfied with UG's product. Business analyst Christopher Ram repeated that sentiment. One of Guyana's leading journalists, Adam Harris is questioning the capacity of UG's communication graduates to read and write properly. There is no respect for UG graduates in the business community. How does this square with the high statement of Mr. Creighton that UG degrees must be good?
Three - Mr. Creighton tells us that UG belongs to a number of prestigious global organizations that connect all universities. But what has this got to do with lack of resources at UG? All Commonwealth universities belong to the ACU including some that are non-functioning in Africa. All hemispheric universities belong to LAPSU including some in Latin America that are not credible enough to send your children to. Membership of these bodies is not synonymous with functioning success. The best rebuttal to Creighton's adumbration of "valued collegiality" would be the General Assembly of the United Nations. The USA and little Dominica share the same weight in the UN General Assembly. Some countries that cannot feed themselves have had the presidency of the Assembly.
Four - Creighton tells readers that UG hasn't got a respected quota of foreign students because UG never looked aggressively at that market. Well after forty one years in existence not to have done that is an admission of incompetence on the part of past vice-chancellors. But this is only part of the picture. Mr. Creighton does not know about the refusal of foreign students to come here because over the past two decades, he taught in an area where student enrollment was tiny compared to us who work in the large Faculty of Social Sciences. Over the past decade, foreign students have bad mouthed UG in a way that has left a lasting depression in my mind. One Jamaican student was so upset about the lack of toilet facilities that she told me she will defy her mother and return home immediately and she did just that. Another Jamaican working at Grace Kennedy before it closed down told me he fell in love with Guyanese but cannot stay because he has never seen anything so run down as UG. He left in his second year.
Five - Mr. Creighton tells us about recalcitrant lecturers. But the record shows that such lecturers are well entrenched and well protected. Some of these people haven't gone beyond their first degree and continuously get renewal of contract in preference to doctorate holders of which one case in Social Science was so shocking that in any self-respecting institution, there would have been dismissal for administrative nepotism.
Six - Mr. Creighton studiously avoids looking at administrative failures. Almost all university vice-chancellors have authored books or have a handsome balance sheet of international publications. At UG, political preference takes precedence over academic record. In his large letter in the SN, he neatly and carefully avoids answering my challenge to him that I will resign if certain documents are made public and I am proven wrong.