For the first time in the English-speaking Caribbean, an Associate Degree programme in Anthropology will be offered to students at the University of Guyana.
Professor Al Creighton of the university’s administrative body explained that the two-year course will take students up to a level below the Bachelor’s Degree.
“It will give them a body of knowledge and competence in the area of study, so that they can go and work in various areas using skills that they developed in the Associate Degree programme,” he stated.
Professor Creighton added that the course in Anthropology has been fully developed and is ready for the University’s 2010 academic year.
He revealed that the University is also developing a number of other Associate Degree programmes for the Department of Languages and Cultural Studies. In Languages: Spanish, French and Portuguese; Music and Creative Arts and Music and Fine Arts. These programmes are not ready as yet.
The professor explained that students, who do not want to spend four years to complete a full degree course, may spend the shorter two-year period doing an associate programme. It will give students the skill to apply in the work environment as well as permit them to go further academically in the field if they choose to.
Additionally, for persons who already possess a degree, an associate degree in a topic connected to their job will strengthen their base.
In order to enter the course, interested persons would require the minimum basic requirements needed to enter the University of Guyana, the Advanced Level or CAPE Unit 2 subjects. The course is also open to persons who meet the mature student qualification. This means anyone over 26 years old who has a good educational background, may not have the minimum number of subjects, but can pass the UG entrance exam. Additionally, if someone has a Degree or a Diploma in any other area from the UG or any other recognised institution, they can get into the programme.
Referring to the availability of Student loans for the programme, Professor Creighton observed that at the moment the worth is $127,000 per year for tuition, which can be achieved without difficulty. However, the Associate Degree Programme in Anthropology costs $200,000 per year. “You will get the standard loan, but you will have to pay the difference,” he stated.
Dr. Christopher Carrico and George Simon will be the first two Professors for the Anthropology programme.
In explaining why the fees for this particular course are higher, Dr. Carrico explained that anthropology has an extensive field work component and is not just “text-book learning”. This will take place in and around Georgetown and the coastal areas; trips into the interior which will entail day, weekend and month-long stays. There will be summer classes where students will spend a month in a village in the interior, and come back and write up their findings. The difference in the fees will offset the expenses.
Professor Creighton likened it to the tourism programmes where students go overseas for a field trip every year.
Explaining the different types of anthropology, Dr. Carrico, who will be the primary lecturer, said that UG is looking at designing a Bachelor’s Degree programme, which may possibly be ready by the end of the first associate degree programme.
Explaining the uniqueness of the anthropology course being separate, he stated that other universities in the region would combine that particular subject with other programmes, mainly sociologically related.
The programme has already been advertised, but the Professors say it is too early to comment on the response, but certainly the University of Guyana would like to have as many persons as possible in the course.
The assurance was given that while UG programmes generally have recognition and acceptance, the anthropology programme will fall in line with other university programmes outside of Guyana.
According to Dr. Carrico, the programme will be recognised in the region or any other institution, simply because of the extensive field work that the student would have completed.
If a student wants to pursue the degree to a higher level, the experience will make that student unique and exceptional, “because of the nature of anthropology and the nature of the field work,” he added.
Dr. Carrico also stated that it is timely for the degree to be implemented now, since anthropology is the study of understanding the connection of human beings, their culture and the environment. “Once you enter the human equation into the environment, you can’t study the environment using the natural sciences only,” he stated, “human beings’ cultural interaction with nature is a huge part of what the environment is about.” He also referred to the design of the environment in relation to climate change, the Low Carbon Development Strategy and REDD+.
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