Professor Craig remembered as expert in education
March 3, 2004
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Tributes continue to Professor Dennis Craig who died on Sunday at his home in Jamaica from prostate cancer.
He will be laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service at the University of the West Indies chapel at the Mona campus.
The latest tribute is from former Education Minister Deryck Bernard, during whose tenure Craig was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana. He told Stabroek News in an invited comment that Craig was "one of a large group of academics who emerged from Guyana after the Second World War, who established a reputation for Guyana as a place which produced learned men and women in all fields, which has not yet been completely tarnished by modern events and circumstances."
He describes him as "an urbane and widely-read man of letters in the old-fashioned sense of the word, able to appreciate the whole gamut of literary, cultural and social dimensions of our existence. He was for example a poet of no mean order and had a fine eye for good painting and sculpture."
Bernard, who is now Dean of UG's School of the Arts and Humanities, said that Craig had a distinguished career in education and academia. He recalled that Craig, after serving as a young teacher, studied economics and served as headmaster at Mackenzie High School.
He then moved to linguistics and became a leading figure in language studies, and subsequently built a career as a leading expert in education development relating not only to language but the whole gamut of education reform.
Bernard said that when Craig retired from the University of the West Indies, he returned to Guyana to serve in the establishment of the newly created National Centre for Education Research and Development (NCERD) and that "its structure and influence is due in no small measure to his vision and expertise".
Craig, according to Bernard, "crowned his career by accepting the Vice- Chancellorship of UG where he did much to revitalise the emphasis on research and quality. He left the university in unfortunate circumstances before he was able to complete his vision for restructuring."
At a personal level, Bernard said he is "particularly grateful to him for the support he gave me when I served in the education sector, for he was knowledgeable, wise and hard working.
"He came back to serve his native land with a zeal which was an inspiration to those who were part of that wonderful team which planned the revitalisation of education in the late 80s and 90s. His wife, Prof Zellyne Jennings was in many ways a part of the strong team which did so much for education and Guyana in those years."