A hike in the tuition fee at the University of Guyana (UG) resides ultimately with the policymakers. This deduction was made by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Dr Jacob Opadeyi, who had earlier this year proposed an increase in the tuition fee. This proposal, according to him, was linked to the need for a widening of the revenue available to the University.
But although he is convinced that “we need to increase our income,” Professor Opadeyi noted that such a development could be realised either through an increase in fees or an increase in the Government provided subvention.
And Government support to the University has certainly not been lacking, as according to the Vice Chancellor, the recent completion of a Special Audit there, has seen Government assuring that all debts incurred by the institution will be cleared in a short time.
“So it is not our business to decide what the University’s fee is because this is still a national University…We cannot be scratching our palms when it comes to what we have to do,” said the Vice Chancellor, even as he considered the amount of work required to be done at the Turkeyen Campus.
But according to him, “the real challenge is what we have been telling our students; if you want quality, fight for it…and don’t just take whatever we give you. Fight for it and you will get it…and that is what we are doing…fighting for it.”
It is however the belief of Professor Opadeyi, who took up the reins of the University six months ago, that much needed changes are on the horizon. In fact according to him, “I feel good about what I am seeing here; I am now seeing some new energies…”
Professor Opadeyi was at the time speaking to this publication after the last Friday evening orientation session of new entrants to the University, a ceremony which was held in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre (GWLT).
And even as he made reference to the importance of the orientation session, Professor Opadeyi noted that while in the past such programmes were loaded with cultural shows “with this person dancing and that choir singing…I said no, let’s bring some young person who can talk to our students and challenge them…let’s bring messages to them and let them know that we are serious about what we are doing here.”
The outcome of his decision was a move to implore young and vibrant President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Mr Clinton Urling, to take up the role of Guest Speaker at the orientation ceremony.
But the anticipated changes to the University will certainly not be limited to ceremonies alone, as according to Professor Opadeyi, “we are trying our best to make this a better place and I am seeing results…they are very small but that is how you start, with baby steps, and let people see, little by little, the results that are taking place.”
In fact, he disclosed that changes are already being realised in terms of the availability of students’ grades, which on occasions, in the past, were not even made available ahead of the start of the new academic year.
And according to the Vice Chancellor, “I am proud to say that by this evening (Friday) we have released almost 95 per cent of all results and my goal is that by Monday (yesterday) we should achieve 100 per cent.”
The Professor, nevertheless, disclosed that there are yet some among the staffing of the University who still appear bent on embracing “the old mode of ‘I don’t have to meet deadlines’…but I tell you this, I do believe I have the support of all my colleagues.”
Moreover, he noted that many of the daunting issues that have been highlighted in the newspapers are in fact being used as stepping stones at the University. “It has really helped us because I am reading the newspaper and I am cutting out these clippings about UG not doing this and that, and we are confronting these issues…”
In fact, during Friday’s orientation session, the Professor was confronted with the concerns of two students, and according to him, “we are going to confront these issues and I think we are heading for some good times at UG.”
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