Industrial action at the University of Guyana can have serious consequences, far beyond what students, staff, and observers are likely to think of.
While most people may tend to look at the disruption of semester and schedules, there are long term effects that can be bitter and deep.
My personal experience will suffice to elucidate my contention. My transcript for the Degree in Mass Communication is desecrated with an ‘F’ for one subject as a result of strike action on campus in the late 1980s.
It was the ending of the term and classes were held intermittently as exams were being written. The strike lasted for several days and students were informed by word of mouth about exam dates and times.
Unfortunately, word did not get to me concerning one exam, and I did not turn up for it. The result was an ‘F’ for that subject. I had to redo the subject for which I obtained a B. A letter to the University’s then Vice Chancellor to excise from my transcript the subject for which I did not write the exam fell on unresponsive ears.
As a result, numerous applications to several universities overseas to do masters’ programmes have been rejected. Indeed, industrial actions at UG do have incapacitating effects. The long-term and serious effects of many years of strikes have not been studied and analysed. Such an undertaken may alarm those who are concerned about the future of the institution and the life of students.
In the absence of empirical data, it can be observed that protests and strikes at the University have become a sordid norm.
Form the late 1980s, and moreso now, records will show that every couple of years, there is protest or a strike on campus.
The action is usually taken for increased salaries, improved working conditions, or better facilities for students.
There have also been protests against lecturers, as in the not-so-recent issue of alleged sexual harassment of female students by a certain male lecturer.
I have been both a staff and a student of UG, and I can identify with most of the issues of working and studying on campus.
It seems as if little has changed. In seeking betterment, students and staff of UG have the constitutional right to take any legal action they deem fitting.
The University’ Administration and Council also have their rights. I just hope for the day when the agendas of administration, council, student body and staff will find convergence for the good of Guyana and the future of students.
In the meantime, I still have a big ‘F’ on my transcript for a subject for which I did not write the exam.
Can the student body review the regulation which stipulates that an exam not written must be represented by an F on the transcript?
Can the University Council pass a simple resolution to amend such archaic law, even to include an asterisk next to the F and a note below that indicates that the student did not write the exam? I think that this will be in the best interest of all students.
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