Mar 12, 2013 News
– as improvement measures are engaged
Even as attempts are being made to rebrand the University of Guyana as a high quality institution, efforts are in train to closely examine its failure rate.
Speaking at a press conference last week, recently appointed Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, said that any programme that sees a more than 25 per cent failure rate will warrant the lecturer writing a report explaining such an occurrence.
“There are several reasons why people will fail and we want to address those reasons directly,” said Professor Opadeyi.
He expressed his conviction that while failure may not initially be the fault of any lecturer the lecturer must be able to ascertain the cause for such an outcome especially “if I am teaching the whole semester and 50 per cent fail my course…I need to find out why. We will need to have dialogue and then the Department will tell us what to do to improve the pass rate,” the Vice Chancellor emphatically stated.
He spoke of plans to have all examinations scrutinised by external examiners and reviewers. This, he explained, would ensure that after a lecturer would have prepared questions for an examination these questions must be sent to a suitably qualified person outside of the university who would be tasked with ascertaining whether the questions are adequate for a degree.
This individual, according to the Professor Opadeyi, will also determine whether the questions are in accordance with the syllabus that was approved.
The resulting feedback will be sent to the Vice Chancellor and the examiner who will be expected to look at and respond accordingly.
In addition, when the examiner is finished marking examination papers he or she will again be expected to forward these to the external examiner who will determine whether the lecturer has been fair or too generous in awarding marks.
“More particularly we want to see the marks of those who get 80 (per cent) and above and those who fail so that we can know if those who do well if they really deserve it and if those who fail deserve it,” said Professor Opadeyi.
“What is instructive is to find out if those who did very well, (performed) because of who they are in terms of their background, qualifications and attendance of classes. Something that I have asked all faculties is to provide me with failure rates,” disclosed the Vice Chancellor.
According to him the first move in improving the quality of the university is to improve the quality of its offerings while at the same time improving the relationship with the wider community even as a strong partnership with the private sector is developed.
“This is a very critical area…We want to invest in higher education in order to improve the quality of life…education is not something ‘I’m bored and I want to do it’, it is an investment in future life and therefore where do you want to put your money? Do you want to invest in a university that is of low quality or one that is of high quality?”
Professor Opadeyi noted that there is need to urgently address the offerings as a whole and “see how we can improve it.”
He said that one of his instituted mandates to the University’s Faculty since taking up his post has been to implement a curriculum review. “In this university we are going to do curriculum review every five years no matter how good that programme is.”
According to him every faculty and every department must sit back at the end of four years and determine some of the new things that should be introduced in the various programmes offered.
This, he said, would be based on what society wants at the end of five years and it is expected that they will be able to derive a revised curriculum and that curriculum must be supported or approved by an external university. This undertaking, according to Professor Opadeyi, should never just be the decision of the university alone insisting that “it is not just on our own where we say okay we want to make these changes and these are the changes. In fact that tone was set on my very second day at work and a proposal was sent back because it did not receive external review,” the Vice Chancellor disclosed.
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