With the pomp and ceremony that usually accompanies a graduation ceremony of the highest education institution of learning, a university, 176 persons graduated in a wide array of disciplines on Saturday evening at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus.
The Guyana Police Force band was on site and rendered several musical pieces including the national song, ‘My Native Land’, and ‘Fanfare and Soliloquy for Band’, as well as Christmas renditions.
Delivering the feature address at the ninth Convocation of the campus, Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy, urged the faculty members to engage in more research that would benefit the students of the university.
While he praised some faculty members for doing research, he said that there are others who are not living up to their expectations to conduct research in their fields of study.
The Minister stated that the university must make it possible for persons to obtain their dreams. He made reference to a student who had applied to the university and, according to him, wasrefused admission because she had written Mathematics at three sittings. “Make it possible for applicants to obtain their dreams. Take advantage of the technology and distance learning. We must make further use of distance learning. We must bring the university into people’s homes,” Ramsammy urged.
OFFER TO LECTURE FOR FREE
He offered his services to the Tain Campus should they need him to lecture in the Bachelor’s Degree programme in Biology since students cannot pursue this programme at the campus.
“If you need me, I can do lectures for free. I am willing to do so now”, he committed. He said that the Tain Campus lacks a proper laboratory and this hampers the delivery of such a programme there.
The guest speaker urged the graduands to dream big. “Remember that we have duties to perform; dream big, that is our civic duty”.
SUGAR IN CRISIS
Minister Ramsammy alluded to the fact that several countries in the Caribbean have closed their sugar industries and that the sugar industry here is under threat.
“Guyana still has a chance,” he reassured. “We must work together to make sure it survives. We have to change the way we do farming,” he said.
He said that Guyanese must use newer forms of technology within the industry if it is to survive.
While some graduands were absent, there was a sizable turnout and they came with close relatives and friends. There were lecturers, media personnel, several photographers, among other persons who filled the University Square to capacity on Saturday.
10 YEARS OF PROGRESS
The convocation coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Berbice campus. The number of programmes offered at the campus has increased over the past ten years. This was reflected on Saturday in the wide range of areas in which the students graduated.
They graduated in Social Work, Public Management, Marketing, Accountancy, Computer Science, Agriculture with Associate Degrees in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology.
Teachers across Regions Five and Six graduated from the usual Education disciplines such as Certificate in Education with specialization in Social Studies and Mathematics, Bachelor’s Degree in Education with specialization in School Administration.
It was only a few months ago that the campus launched its Associate Degree programme in English, after much outcry from prospective students.
Topping the list of graduates this year, was Ms Nadia Khan, who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management and the highest Grade Point Average (GPA). She was the valedictorian. She received the top award from Republic Bank.
In her address to fellow graduates, she called for the Tain Campus to experience full autonomy from the Turkeyen Campus.
“We look forward to the day when the Berbice Campus becomes autonomous,” she said. She urged autonomy from the main campus so that the Berbice graduates could receive similar prizes, such as the President and Prime Minister’s Medals, that are received by graduates from Turkeyen.
The valedictorian stated that the campus has been lifted up to recognition to the outside world and that it has prepared hundreds of students from many walks of life. She praised the lecturers and members of staff of the Berbice campus.
“The Berbice campus is more than a centre of academic pursuit”, Khan said. She alluded to the efforts of the campus during the past years and its involvement in community activities such as training the Community Police, working in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force to train cadet officers, and hosting forums for school children.
“The future is unwritten and the pen is in your hand,” she added.
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