I grew up in a home where it was drummed into my conscious thinking that “education is the key to success” and without it one would not be able to accomplish anything worthwhile in life.
My parents would unrelentingly preach to me on a daily basis about the various educational opportunities they had foolishly passed up. So, as an obedient child and a good trooper, I took my parents’ advice; I enrolled at the University of Guyana, Tain Campus. To any logically thinking person, this was a very wise decision. I was already employed at a company in New Amsterdam, so it was economical to endure the 30 minutes’ drive to and from UGBC on a daily basis rather than relocating to the country’s capital.
Shortly after I commenced my Diploma Programme in Public Management, I learned a life-changing lesson: What is and what ought to be are two entirely different scenarios.
A university is an educational institution for higher learning. With this in mind, it is supposed to exhibit the highest level of professionalism in the education sector of Guyana. This is what ought to be, but unfortunately it is not what is. My fellow classmates and I have on numerous occasions suffered from the ‘delayed-notice syndrome’. Let me explain. There are several notice boards strategically placed throughout the campus. Their purpose: to inform students of any change to the regular time table. For instance, if a lecturer would not be able to conduct classes on a specific day, he/she would place a notice informing students of such a change. The ‘delayed-notice syndrome’ exposes its ugly head when students are informed a little too late. In most cases, the notice or notices are placed on the board mere minutes before a scheduled class. Consequently, students have to travel all the way from New Amsterdam and even West Coast Berbice to the campus, only to realise that the lecturer would not be holding classes. This is not only a waste of hard-earned money, but a waste of time as well as energy. This begs the question: Where is the professionalism?
Only recently I had a double session, i.e. two scheduled classes for the day. I arrived at campus at around 9:55am for a 10:00am class, only to see a notice indicating that the class was cancelled. I saw another notice confirming my 15:00hrs class the same day. With several hours to kill, I returned to work in New Amsterdam, – spending a total of $400 for that trip. I did not murmur or complain, because such an episode had become a regular occurrence. Imagine my flabbergasted state of mind when I returned the said afternoon for my scheduled class, only to notice that a notice was placed next to the notice that confirmed my class cancelling the said class. Confused? So was I! Defeated, I hopped into another car and headed home. I had spent $800 to travel to and from UGBC twice in one day to attend classes that were cancelled a little too late. To add insult to injury, I had missed a day’s work that I would never be able to regain.
Mr. Editor, you might want to recommend that my classmates and I contact the administration office to find out whether or not the lecturer would be holding classes for that particular day. I can assure you that this is an exercise in futility. Their reply: “Check the notice board”. See my dilemma?
The aims of the University of Guyana are to “discover, generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge of the highest standard for the service of the community…” It is an understatement to say that they have not accomplished their aims. Even bottom-house schools are not this laidback in their management! Therefore, why must we as students be forced to put up with such disregard? It is time the ‘powers that be’ arise from their slumber and do something about the problems affecting students like me. Will I be victimised for speaking out? Probably, but at this stage in my life I simply don’t care.
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