History of the University of Guyana, 1987-1988

History This Week
By Arlene Munro
Stabroek News
December 23, 2005

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The history of the University of Guyana is very interesting. It reveals the achievements of the University and its growth and development since its inception in 1963. Today I will continue my study of this history for the period 1987-1988. Due to the unavailability of reports this article will focus on the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Faculty of Arts completed its Five-Year Develop-ment Plan during that academic year. Cicely John spearheaded this Development Plan.

New programmes were designed during this year. They were the Diploma in Translation, a Minor in Art Education, a Diploma in Art Education, a course on Women and Literature, English Communication Stu-dies, Applied Linguistics, and a Survey of West Indian History for non-History Majors.

Several members of staff published their work during the year. They included Al Creighton, Alim Hosein, Dr. Joyce Jonas, Vanda Radzik, Carl Braithwaite, J. R. K. Daniel, Dr. Winston McGowan, Professor M.N Menezes, James Rose, Dr. Visswanathan, and Dr. David Chanderbali.

The University hosted a major International Confer-ence entitled 'Genesis of A Nation I and II. It was held at Le Meridien Hotel. The departments of English, History, Geography, Modern Languages and the Amerindian Research Unit hosted separate seminars. Foreign scholars were invited to read papers at the English and Amerindian Research Unit Meetings.

Many members of the Faculty of Arts attended conferences or read papers with full or partial University funding. The Amerindian Research Unit hosted a Conference on the Arawaks of Guyana. Lecturers of History served at the National Archives and Ministry of Education. The members of the Department of Modern Languages were asked to translate and interpret during 'major international negotiations.' They were Carmen Same, Jerome Branch, Roslin Khan and Cicely John. Jean Small and Roslin Khan served with the Caribbean Examinations Council at Panel or Examining Committee Level.

Vanda Radzik's art was displayed at a major exhibition of Sixty Years of Women Artists in Guyana. Faculty members participated in radio programmes such as 'Topics from Turkeyen' and CXC English, French and Spanish programmes. There were educational puppet shows arranged by Jean Small. The History Department mounted Sixth Form summer programmes, a CXC summer course for History teachers and a series of public lectures.

The University of Guyana celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary during that year. Celebration activities included an inter-faith service, a debating competition, and a drama competition. Students from the Faculty of Arts participated in all these activities and a team from this Faculty emerged the winner in the debating competition.

Some members of the Faculty received higher degrees. They were Dr. Patrick Williams, Dhanis Jaganauth, and Sandra Granger. Alim Hosein was offered a LASPAU Scholarship. Sandra Granger, Carl Braithwaite and Derek Archer were offered Protocol Fellowship Awards at the end of the year.

The Department of Modern Languages arranged for French students to tour Guadeloupe. The Faculty observed that fewer students were graduating from the Faculty of Arts due to the small number of students who had entered the Faculty earlier and the fact that some first-year students were entering National Service. Also, it was noted that National Service was one factor which caused students to decide against entering the University.

The Faculty of Arts published a total of nineteen papers, three books and one booklet. The Amerindian Research Unit published the Arawak Conference Procee-dings.

The Cartographic Labora-tory provided great service to the University in Map-making, drawing of plans, assistance in publishing, production, diagrams and signs, and servicing of University functions, seminars and conferences. The Language Laboratory offered technical services to the University such as the operation of a public address system and other special services at seminars and conferences.

Dr. Dennis Bassier returned from his sabbatical leave and resumed duties as Co-ordinator of the Division of Caribbean Studies. Doris Rogers joined the staff of the Division of Creative Arts in January 1988. Tota Manager also joined the staff of the Department of History.

The University sponsored a conference to commemorate 150 years of the advent of East Indians to Guyana. Pat Dial and Dr. Bassier presented papers at this conference. Donald Sinclair presented a paper at the Eighth Annual Conference on West Indian literature in Jamaica. He also presented one at the Department of Modern Languages Conference at the University of Guyana.

The Faculty of Health Sciences also had a productive year. Dickson Hooper acted as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences during the first two months of the academic year. Dr. O.R Simon from the University of the West Indies Medical School, Mona, joined the Faculty as Reader in Pharmacology and was elected Dean. The Faculty resolved to upgrade staff, increase the visibility of the Faculty, improve the physical facilities and laboratory facilities and complete the restructuring of the Faculty into departments. There was a paucity of full-time academic staff. Most of the staff were part-time lecturers. The Medical Programme and Environmental Health Offi-cers' programme were most affected by this shortage.

B. Hoppie was offered a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D degree in Pharmacy and V. Caleb was the recipient of a Fellowship to pursue a M.A. Degree in Health Service Management. R. Williams received a distinction in the Haematology option of the Diploma in Medical Technology. E.D. Small received the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship to pursue a Master's Degree in Public Health at the John Hopkins University. The Faculty of Health Sciences held a Workshop on 'Disaster Preparedness'. Participants came from St. Lucia, Antigua and Guyana.

There was a shortage of physical and laboratory facilities which prevented the faculty from conducting training programmes effectively. Seven programmes were offered to 143 students. But the faculty had one laboratory and two lecture rooms which could hold twenty-five students. The faculty received assistance from international agencies and foreign governments such as Venezuela which helped the Faculty to complete the Health Sciences' building. The faculty submitted proposals to American funding agencies.

Research activities were limited by the lack of equipment and laboratory space. Few faculty members undertook any laboratory research. Only Dean O.R. Simon undertook laboratory research during the academic year 1987-1988. Research was also conducted by E. Hall on 'The Incidence of Drug Abuse in a specified Community - A Supervised Class Project'.

V. Caleb published in 1988 The Education and Training of Health Professionals at the University of Guyana. O. R. Simon published an article entitled, "Supporting Evid-ence for the Use of Cassava Products instead of Wheat Flour Products in the Diet of the Diabetics" in the West Indian Medical Journal.

Dr. O. R. Simon attended the Conferences of Ministers Responsible for Health in the Caribbean which was held in Trinidad in June 1988. He also presented papers at the CSC Workshop on the use of plant materials as sources of new drugs.

The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Health Sciences were productive during the academic year 1987-1988. This was evident in the number of conferences and research publications during that year. New programmes were designed, new lecturers were recruited and some lecturers acquired higher degrees. Unfortunately, reports for other faculties were unavailable and consequently this study is limited to the above-mentioned faculties alone.