No one in this wide world can lecture to me about the crisis in education delivery when a country’s economy slumps and money vanishes. I am in my 25th year as a university lecturer and I saw (and am still seeing) how the quality of education drastically declines when university services get stuck on hard times. The pitiful result is that the level of skills touches rock bottom. Competence no longer obtains.
How does this work? Here is where my experience comes in. Limited resources reduce the availability of teaching materials. Here is where the types of knowledge become important. If you are teaching history, you can still deliver a fairly adequate product because books and periodicals and primary sources do not have to be in plentiful supply for a student to obtain competence. How many books do you need to provide a student with if they have to do world history, Caribbean evolution, West Indian literature? You can in fact photocopy the seminal works in each subject and distribute them to the students.
Chemistry, biology and medicine are completely different affairs. A fully stocked laboratory becomes indispensable. A few years back when President Jagdeo gave the feature address at the opening of UG’s Centre for Information Technology, he used the word “atrocious” to describe the state of the science labs.
To confront this frightening situation, the Guyana Government put in for a loan of 600 million Guyana dollars from the Caribbean Development Bank to equip the labs. The bank refused, saying its policy is to lend for primary education not for the university level.
To continue without lab experiments, what UG did was to offer the courses without the lab content. The result had to be under-trained scientists. The consequences for a nation having an incompetent historian as against an under-trained medical doctor are horrendous. Lives are at stake when a dunce of a medical doctor is treating patients.
In Cuba, the situation is terribly worse than at UG. The Cuban medical scholarship programme for Third World governments is a political game. It is sheer propaganda. Cuba takes thousands of students from around the Third World and puts them through what it calls its degree programmes at university level. These students never fail. They always pass and are sent back to their respective countries as medical doctors. But they are not properly trained, comparatively speaking. The whole thing is a propaganda scheme for Cuba.
Less than one percent of these enormous numbers attend the main university, Havana University. Most of them are sent to the lesser endowed institutions where facilities are nightmarish. Cuba does not allow these Third World students to do intern work at any Cuban hospital. Never are specialist post-graduate degrees offered.
One Guyanese student took umbrage to my attack on this propaganda bandwagon. He sent his letter to KN from Japan. When I inquired why he wasn’t in Guyana working, he replied that he was doing post-grad medicine in one of the top countries in the world – Japan.
For a man who was a fanatical supporter of the Cuban system, I inquired as to why he was in Japan. The reason being, of course, that he was a sensible man.
Cuba learnt this propaganda lesson from the then Soviet Union. At that time, there was a college for Third World students named Patrice Lumumba University. This was one big propaganda circus where students spent 18 months learning the Russian language, then two years of Marxism-Leninism and another two years in the particular field of study. There were no first degrees. All graduates were given the Masters title. Students never failed. They all went back home with their Masters. Back in the Caribbean, the equivalency board in each CARICOM country deemed the Masters degree from Patrice Lumumba, a first degree.
The poor economy of Cuba can afford to take in these thousands of Third World students each year because the Cuban authorities know that the training is superficial and there is no great burden on the Cuban economy.
Each year, the intake gets higher. I may be wrong, but I think Guyana is expecting about 600 hundred Guyanese medical doctors from Cuba in four years’ time. These doctors are not properly trained. Some private hospitals here will not take them without post-graduate qualifications from a recognized university outside of Cuba.
I have a choice and my choice is to stay away from these Cuban-trained Guyanese doctors until they have acquired vast experience and post-graduate training. Sorry! They are not going to treat me and my family and my friends if I can help it.
Sep 15, 2019Briton John stormed to victory in the feature 35-lap race of the Triskits Biscuit, Midwest tea biscuit cycle event which was contested yesterday at inner circuit of the National Park. John took an...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected].com