…lauds outgoing VC’s contributions
New University of Guyana (UG) Chancellor, Professor Eon Nigel Harris, has lauded the contributions of Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, even in light of the difficulties faced by the VC during his tenure.
Come February 2016, VC Opadeyi’s contract will come to an end. Opadeyi had previously indicated that he will not be renewing this contract.
A source recently shared that indeed Opadeyi’s contract has not been renewed and will not be renewed. Instead, a Management Committee will run the University while UG seeks out a new Vice-Chancellor.
Noting that Opadeyi will demit office “in another few months”, Harris, during UG’s 49th Convocation on Saturday, thanked the outgoing Vice Chancellor for his contributions.
“Let me express, on behalf of the whole University and Guyana, our thanks to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, who will demit office in another few months. I have been Chancellor for just about two months and I believe that VC Opadeyi has gone to great personal lengths to promote the growth and standards of the University,” Harris emphasised.
Among Opadeyi’s achievements, Harris said, were enhancement of the University’s financial and management system; the reduction of the University’s deficit by initiating additional government funding; facilitating the promotion of a number of faculty members, while working to ensure that a greater percentage of academic staff can gain degrees.
He continued, “He’s played a role in managing the World Bank/UG Technology Support Project and I hope that project will help transform Science, Technology and Engineering education at UG.”
Harris said that Opadeyi also improved linkages with the Private Sector, which resulted in generous contributions, including the supply of 2,000 classroom chairs from Gafoor’s to alleviate furniture shortages.
However, Harris noted that Opadeyi’s tenure had not been without its fair share of challenges. Harris said that, no matter what, the issues of an underfunded institution, non-competitive staff salaries and inadequate infrastructure would create problems for both managers and staff. He added that the issues had been exacerbated by differing views on how best to address them.
Nonetheless, he said, “Let me say thanks again to Professor Opadeyi for his efforts to improve this vitally important institution and we bid him well in the future.”
In December 2012, Professor Opadeyi was announced as the University’s new VC. Before his appointment, he had served as a Professor at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Opadeyi had replaced Professor Lawrence Carrington.
Since then, Opadeyi’s tenure has been rife with tension.
Within his three years, Opadeyi has faced much criticism, particularly from UG’s student body and workers’ union.
Just earlier this year, staff from the UG Workers Union (UGWU) and the UG Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) staged industrial action which saw the University shutting down for more than a month.
The industrial action commenced following the collapse of wage negotiations between the administration and its staff.
Since 2012, wage negotiations between the academic staff and the administration had been ongoing, leading to days of strike by lecturers and students alike before terms for resumption were brokered. A No-Confidence Petition was also brought against Opadeyi in June by UG staff.
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