“Any public institution which is the recipient of public funding must submit itself to inflexible standards of accountability and be able to withstand rigorous financial scrutiny.” This assertion was made by Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh when he addressed the 45th University of Guyana Convocation on Saturday.
He pointed out that in the case of a university, in addition to prudent fiscal management, accountability should focus on very strong performance management systems. Further, he noted, that there should be on the academic side, established policy and practice, which allow for effective systems of clear review for teaching and research. “I do not hold myself out as an authority on these matters but I respectfully suggest that if these do not exist, their worth in creating standards of accountability may be considered.”
Singh added too that whether or not there will be attempts at the erosion of university autonomy depends on the perception and standards of internal accountability which the university sets itself.
And even as he alluded to the university’s role in national development, he told the 1,400- odd graduates that “Guyana has given to you, the time has come for you to give back to Guyana.”
He noted too that it is no secret that qualified persons such as teachers, nurses, engineers and scientists opt to leave these shores to offer their talents and skills to other states. “I will readily tell you that I am not unaware of the principle motivating factor for this migration but I ask what has become of patriotism and loyalty to our country?”
“Sometimes I think that our people should be constantly reminded of the words of the late President of the United States of American John F. Kennedy, who at his inaugural speech in 1961 said ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?’”
As such, Singh noted that the question even today should be “what can we do for our country? I say we can serve our country with diligence, with dedication and with efficiency. By doing so you, we and all others who live in this fair land would be giving true meaning to being Guyanese.”
He stressed too that once persons seek to apply themselves in this regard, they will in fact be giving true meaning to the National Pledge as they will be dedicating their energies to the happiness and prosperity of Guyana.
Accordingly, he noted that each graduation ceremony of the University of Guyana must be a moment of great pride and academic satisfaction, adding that graduates are the core product of any academic university. “For you graduating in 2011, you are on the threshold of a bright, exciting and challenging future, a future for which you must care. Strive for excellence in all of your pursuits; it is achievable through hard work and hard work will serve you well,” the Chancellor asserted.
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