The University of Guyana (UG) seems to be making more news than the upcoming elections. Every year, there are always issues concerning admissions, registration and access to loans among new and continuing students, but this year, not only the students are having problems, some of UG’ s top officials cannot get their acts together.
Recently newspapers notably Guyana Chronicle and Kaieteur News, published letters regarding the supposedly discontinuation of three Health Sciences degree programmes in Pharmacy, Optometry and Rehabilitation Science which never reached the UG Council (UGC) for approval, and matters concerning good governance.
This is a clear indication that UG administration officials are not doing their jobs or are influenced in some way with respect to the administration of UG. It is a pity that Health Sciences students are caught up in an unfortunate situation in which they have no influence or voice.
Student’s complaints are numerous, but yet they and their representative body, the University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS) are not making a noise about it. In some cases, even if students approach the UGSS for support in a matter, it is unlikely that the matter is given any serious attention much less addressed effectively. Much is not done to educate students about their rights on campus and there is a lot of fine print in the information available to students.
Students are allowed to vote for the representatives of their choice for the UGSS and not all students would want to take part in the process, but every student has to pay a UG Students Society fee of G$750 every year. Also, they have to pay a sports fee of G$1000 per year and I am certain that not all students are involved in sports. There are situations where students are paying late registration fees not because they were late to register, but because of the untimely manner in which the admissions department works.
In addition, the quality and delivery of courses are questionable since first degree lecturers with limited teaching and research experiences and publications are crowding out the experienced ones.
Some students are forced to undertake courses that they initially did not register for because there are no lecturers available for the registered courses, in order to graduate. Hence, these substitute courses start late during semesters, increasing the student’s workload during their preparations for mid-semester exams and final exams.
It is about time the students speak up. Students cannot wait for UG to make the change; they need to make the change for their own benefit. Keeping quiet about a matter will not solve the problem. UG is in a state of decline and in the end students are the ones who will suffer.
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