UG launches business school
The University of Guyana (UG) on Friday evening launched its School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (SEBI), with the goal of educating and developing leaders and managers to contribute to the advancement of the nation.
Speaking at the launch at Duke Lodge, UG Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith thanked those who helped make the vision of the business school a reality, while saying that it represented a partnership to creating opportunities for not only entrepreneurship in thinking and dreaming, but entrepreneurship in doing.
Griffith said the SEBI would begin tuition from the next semester as a team, led by UG’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Planning and International Engagement Dr Barbara Reynolds, has already been created to start working towards delivery.
SEBI programmes, Griffith said, will facilitate significant cross-discipline collaboration, allowing students in other areas to participate. He also said its programmes and courses would be internationally-accredited.
Professor Leyland Lucas, Visiting Professor in Business Strategy and Dean Designate of SEBI, told the launch that while the nation needs change, it also needs an institution responsive to its needs and one that ensures that it provides the skills, competencies and capabilities needed to move forward.
He noted that SEBI’s programmes, which will include undergraduate degree programmes in Accounting, Entrepreneur-ship, Finance, General Management, Supply Chain Management and Tourism, and graduate-level programmes in Entrepreneurship, Management, General Management and Sustainable Develop-ment, can all move the country forward.
Lucas, who also addressed concerns about accreditation of the programmes offered by the school, said that it will be accredited by one of the premier accrediting institutions in the world. He assured those in attendance that the degrees earned from SEBI will be recognised globally as the institution is establishing relationships with other entities to ensure professional certification.
Giving his congratulatory remarks at the launch, Ambassador of Mexico to Guyana Ivan Roberto Sierra Medel was optimistic that SEBI will jumpstart Guyana’s economic development. He anticipated too that the school will bring together academia and the private sector, Georgetown and the hinterland, and Guyanese around the world. “Somebody has to provide the specific training not only in strategy to tap into markets but in harvesting the tremendous friendship that can be part in successful economic engagements with the world,” the Ambassador said. “SEBI can become the strategic asset to take advantage of international business practices and successful experiences in the specific field of doing business,” he added.
SEBI has emerged from exhaustive engagements between the university and both the public and private sectors, as well as the intellectual effort of a feasibility study team that included highly qualified Guyanese in the diaspora, many of whom hold key administrative and academic positions at highly reputable universities in the United States.
Article adapted from: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2017/news/stories/07/09/ug-launches-business-school/
Vice Chancellor justifies several senior appointments at national university
Some basic things to ensure the efficient management of the University of Guyana [UG] have been neglected for so many years that some people have accepted them as the norm.
This was the assertion of Vice Chancellor of the national university, Professor Ivelaw Griffith.
“There are some things for the management; for the efficiency of the economics and operations [that] we have neglected for years, so much so that people think it’s normal.
It is a university that has been so accustomed to managing on a shoe-string budget that people think that anytime you do a little, you are being profligate.”
The Vice Chancellor’s remarks were forthcoming in response to concerns about allegations that his appointment of a number of senior officials at the national university has resulted in the institution becoming ‘top heavy’.
The University last year released information to the effect that on August 22, 2016, the Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC) – the second highest policy-making body after the Council – approved a proposal by the Vice Chancellor Griffith to comprehensively restructure the university’s leadership.
This move, it was revealed, was designed to create greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness and set the stage for innovation in academic and non-academic areas. The changes, which became effective on October 1, 2016, entailed having Dr Michael Scott, the immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, become Deputy Vice- Chancellor (DVC) of Academic Engagement.
The former DVC of Academics, Dr Barbara Reynolds, was named DVC for Planning and International Engagement, a new entity intended to streamline and extend UG’s international relationships and build new grant, research, and other relationships with other universities and with international organizations.
Dr Paloma Mohamed, a former Director for the Centre for Communication Studies and a former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, now occupies the newly-created position of DVC of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE), which has the mandate to enhance UG’s fund-raising, rebranding, alumni relationships, and public interchange, all of which are said to be crucial to the University’s renaissance.
Added to this, the new administrative team was expected to be strengthened with the establishment of an Office of Strategic Initiatives in the Vice Chancellery, to undertake institutional strengthening, project management, and allied services.
Appointed to head this area is Dr. Fitzgerald Yaw, Consultant on Governance, Sustainability, and Economic Development, who has worked across the Americas and the Caribbean.
Added to this, Ms Karen Wishart, who was the Programme Officer in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, was promoted to the first Chief of Staff in the Vice-Chancellery.
This promotion was said to coincide with the renaming of the Senior Administrative Group to the Vice- Chancellor’s Cabinet, which includes the DVCs, Registrar, Bursar, Human Resources Director, Director of the Berbice Campus, the Legal Officer—another new position—the Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, and the Chief of Staff.
But there have been numerous concerns voiced that the size of the university does not warrant the magnitude of appointments.
Vice Chancellor Griffith, however, made it clear that while the proposal was his to present, it certainly wasn’t suddenly conjured up upon his appointment as the principal of the university.
He explained that the University over the years benefited from a number of assessment studies intended to help improve its operation.
Among the most recent, was one completed by Hamilton Associates in 2012. The assessment in question, Professor Griffith said, not only recognised that the university was neglected in terms of its human capital, but went on to outline that it did not have sufficient lecturers or administrators for that matter.
He underscored that the one of the things that the Hamilton Report highlighted is that “the university is too big and part of why it has not done well is that it is running on a shoe-string budget, both on the lecturers’ side and on the administrative side.”
Part of the recommendation to help address the shortcomings of the University that is detailed in the Report is the appointment of at least four Deputy Vice Chancellors in addition to the Vice Chancellor.
But according to Professor Griffith, although he saw the need for the recommended measures to be implemented, “I said we can’t afford four [but] let’s move from one to three.” In fact, he noted that among the neglected human resource area of the university is the lack of a Civil Engineer, an Attorney and even a Chief Accountant.
“Partly because of the low salaries at this university, both on the teaching and administrative sides, we have had difficulty recruiting people,” said Professor Griffith, as he related that the recommendation for an augmented staff did not even taken into consideration the university’s current 8,000-plus student population.
Moreover, Professor Griffith has said, “what I have begun to do, and I make no apologies for doing this, is to try to right-size both the teaching staff and the administrative staff.”
“How are we going to get grants if we don’t have people to write them? How do you get the alumni to give back if you don’t have the mechanisms? How do you get the corporations to give, if you don’t have people who will wine and dine them and follow up with them?” questioned the Vice Chancellor as he added, “There is a lot of vacuous, misinformed commentary about big spending.”
The Vice Chancellor also made it clear that “I am going to always make the right decisions for the right reasons, irrespective of the criticisms, because sometimes the people don’t know the facts…So I would say to anyone the documents are there.”
UG's development hampered by serious pilfering problem - Vice Chancellor
A serious, protracted pilfering situation has been listed among the factors that have been hampering the development of the University of Guyana [UG]. In fact, the Guyana Police Force a few months ago was called in to investigate reports of theft from the Centre for Information Technology [CIT].
But according to UG Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, during an interview with this publication, CIT is not the only department of the university to be so plagued. The situation, he informed, is far-reaching and has translated to millions worth of items disappearing from various departments of the University.
This state of affairs has undoubtedly helped to contribute to the financial challenge that UG has been faced with over time.
“If we have to replace 17, 18, 19 million dollars a year of stuff, how can we progress as a university? These are equipment for classrooms, for offices, even some of the contractors [are stealing]; stuff are just being stolen from this University,” Professor Griffith related.
“This University has a lot of theft,” stressed the unapologetic Principal of the national university. And according to him, he has made no secret of the state of affairs, but rather, has shared information he has compiled in this regard with both staff and the student body as well.
“I’ve publicly said we don’t have drones coming… [so] it is staff or students, or people facilitated by staff or students, who are coming and stealing stuff.”
Professor Griffith said that during a meeting with Union representatives, for instance, he made it clear to them that “you have an obligation to help us deal with that…there are things that we have to do if we want a different environment.”
“We have to look ourselves in the mirror and say ‘who is going to fix these things?’ It has got to be us,” the Vice Chancellor asserted.
In fact, Professor Griffith said that in his quest to be transparent and share information, even before turning the CIT allegations over to the police, he had had the discussions with the unions of the university – the University of Guyana Workers’ Union and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association.
It was only after this, he said, that “I called in the CID and they started with that building. What I said to the unions is that I am turning this matter over to the police, and the chips will fall where they may. When the CID is done with its investigation whomever they want to prosecute, I will say go right ahead.”
This happened a few a months ago. But according to Vice Chancellor Griffith, he has since learnt that there is an even greater pilfering problem within the maintenance department of the university.
According to the Vice Chancellor, he got information that suggests that the skulduggery in that department might have surpassed what has already been brought to the attention of the university’s administration.
“I said I know [what’s going on] but I didn’t know the full extent of it, but I have already put [the] Maintenance [Department] on warning that I am coming to them next,” Professor Griffith stated.
According to the Vice Chancellor, when one takes into consideration the persons who are already being investigated, there is a nexus between them and some people associated with the university.
During the month of April, Professor Griffith had called in the Police Force to investigate the allegations of theft of equipment and misconduct of staff members of CIT. The Manager of the Centre and several employees were sent on leave as an interim measure to allow the investigation to proceed without disruption of evidence, and to preserve a safe, orderly, and professional work environment. A temporary manager was identified to oversee the operations of the Centre during the conduct of the investigation which, Professor Griffith said yesterday, was ongoing.
Additionally, there are reports coming out from UG that the Ministry of Public Telecommunications was asked to conduct a forensic audit of the CIT operations at the Turkeyen and Berbice campuses and the four centres of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education located at Anna Regina, Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam.
UG Rehabilitation programme graduates few, but too crucial to health care to discard - Health Sciences Dean
Although they are not named among the most popular programmes offered, those that fall under Medical Rehabilitation at the University of Guyana [UG] are no less important, especially when they suffer from conditions that limit the effective functioning of various aspects of their anatomy.
The knowledge gained from courses such as Bachelor’s Degrees in Physiotherapy, Speech-Language, Audiology and Occupational Therapy have long been found to be very instrumental in this regard.
It was against this background that the Rehabilitation Department of the Ministry of Health decided to collaborate with UG a few years ago to realise the Medical Rehabilitation programme. Thus far, the programme, which falls under the purview of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has graduated two batches consisting of not more than 12 individuals.
According to Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings, although the numbers are few, offering the Medical Rehabilitation programmes is still very relevant. He noted that while it was introduced as a general Rehabilitation Services Degree, the university with the support of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association [ASHA], was able to apply some modification touches.
Under the broad heading of Medical Rehabilitation, the Rehabilitation Services programmes are coordinated by Dr. Shaine Villareal of the Philippines. The programme has also been gaining immense support from Peace Corps Guyana which has been bringing to Guyana very experienced professionals to assist with lecture sessions.
Also, local doctors who were trained in Cuba, and elsewhere, have also been lending lecture support. Other trained professionals within the public health sector have also been contributing their services.
Despite the high quality of the programme being offered, Dr. Cummings admitted that very few persons are attracted to the programme. He, however, attributed this to the fact that “these [programmes] are all new health care profession training [at an advanced level] to Guyana.” He explained that the Ministry of Health, several years ago, only offered such training at a certificate level.
The certificate programmes were offered for a period of 18 months and allowed persons to be trained in the various areas of rehabilitation services. Once completed these individuals would be qualified at the Assistant level and employed within the public health sector throughout the country.
However, with the higher level training at UG, the health sector is now in a position to recruit more qualified persons to cater to its delivery of rehabilitation services, according to Dr. Cummings.
Among those who have already taken advantage of the programme is Christine Alphonso. The ambitious young woman revealed that even after she had commenced studies at UG in the area of Biology she was not aware that the institution was offering a programme such a Medical Rehabilitation.
She confided that her interest in sports would have undoubtedly caused her to be attracted to the programme had she been aware of its existence. Moreover, when she learnt of the programme through a friend, Alphonso said that she immediately made a switch. She chose to pursue training in Physiotherapy and last year graduated among the second batch of students to have completed UG’s Medical Rehabilitation programme. She passed with distinction.
Alphonso is currently a Physical Therapist attached to an arm of the Rehabilitation Department of the Ministry of Public Health which is located at the Brickdam, Georgetown Palms Geriatric Home.
It was rather simple to enter the programme, according to Alphonso, who explained that once persons would have attained success at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination, complete with Mathematics, English and a Science Subject, they can apply for the programme.
“I wanted to do this [physiotherapy] because I like sports a lot but I really didn’t realise that the rehabilitation programme entailed so much. You can help not just athletes or persons with sports related injuries but now I can even help people who suffer from stroke, arthritis, spinal cord injury and a lot of other conditions…once you have a limitation in movement you are referred for therapy and people really can get better,” asserted Alphonso.
She finds joy offering therapy to the several persons she has been assigned since joining the department in January.
Recruiting persons, such as Alphonso, back into the public health care system is indeed among the objectives of the programme, according to Health Sciences Dean.
“The programmes we offer are geared at improving the quality of life for persons who have a disability so that they can be incorporated back into society so if we are able to train one person and put them to work in audiology, for instance, that is a jack pot for us….there was a time when we didn’t have anybody.”
The Dean said that UG will be working in close collaboration with organisations such as ASHA to have some of its very successful graduates have access to even more advance training.
Dr. Cummings hopes that more persons will gravitate to the programme so that they too can benefit from training that can ultimately help to improve the delivery of service offered locally.
The Dean is convinced that with proper career guidance more students could be aware of the variety of programmes offered, not only at the vanguard faculty, but at faculties throughout the university.
Two World Bank loans signed for Education Sector and the National Payment System
The Education Sector is set to be boosted with the signing of a US$13.3M loan by the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and World Bank Senior Country Officer, Pierre Nadji. The signing was done in the Ministry of Finance’s boardroom, Lamaha Street, Georgetown today.
As part of the agreement, money will be allocated to the Ministry of Education for the Education Sector Improvement(ESI). Director of Projects, Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Tarchand Balgobin said, “This is government’s thrust in the development of the Education Sector, bearing in mind the Oil and Gas Sector and personnel training to respond to the developmental challenges that are before us.”
According to Director of Projects, the new project, the ESI will facilitate the development of a new curriculum framework and teaching guides, teacher training, strengthening of national assessment capacity and development of teaching materials. It is a successor programme to the Secondary Reform Programme.
The project will also support the University of Guyana’s Health Sciences Facility, Balgobin said. He noted that the loan will aid the University in achieving and maintaining regional accreditation for its medical programme through improved and sustained teaching quality.
The Projects Director explained that a new Health Sciences Education building, with modern training and laboratory facilities, will be constructed. The Ministry of Education will be the implementing Ministry for this project.
Additionally, a US$6M loan was signed for a National Payment System. The system is a technology driven process that seeks to engender and facilitate financial and other commercial transactions. Balgobin explained that, “What this does is to improve the way cash is handled in Guyana.” He said that it is more than the physical money transactions, the system includes the legal and regulatory framework, the institution policies, rules, regulations and procedures. The Bank of Guyana will be the implementer of this project.
Balgobin added that the Information Technology system is very important. He pointed out that this system drives the
electronic transfers and the clearing house mechanisms. He noted that the system affects both the national as well as the international economy and is an indispensable system ecommerce age.
He further said that the system will be applied to governmental transactions which include the Public Sector Payroll, The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), government pensions among others.
Balgobin said that it is envisaged that the system will roll-out to include all commercial transaction nationally. He explained that the Private Sector is expected to be a key stakeholder in the process as, “the system takes foot and becomes effective across the board.” This initiative will see Guyana forward towards the ecommerce industry.
Following the conclusion of the most recent Country Development strategy between the World Bank and government a significant increase in concessional resources has been announced for Guyana (approximately US$ 90M).
Looking ahead, government intends to focus this development support in the improvements to the Linden Soesdyke Highway; selected important technical assistance support to the emerging Oil and Gas Sector including studies, institutional development and capacity building and on a policy based lending facility, among other areas.
The University of Guyana: Challenge and Change
University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Law Griffith talks with The Guyana Review about the challenges that inhere in the transformation of The University of Guyana
Click here to download the PDF file.
GDF, UG in move to augment cadet programme
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is collaborating with the University of Guyana (UG) to strengthen its Officer Cadet programme by adding an Associate Degree in General Studies component to it.
In a release, the GDF said, “in a major shift for effective transformation for total national defence is embarking on an initiative to significantly upgrade its training of Officer Cadets, through the introduction of an Associate Degree in General Studies, as a compulsory element on their road to officer-ship.”
This initiative, the army said is set to commence with the next cohort of Cadets on Standard Officers Course Number 50. To this end, the GDF and the University of Guyana have held preliminary discussions regarding the move to enhance the training of the Officer Cadets.
Additionally, in a follow up move, Brigadier Patrick West invited UG Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith and his team to visit the training facilities at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School at Base Camp Stephenson. There, the visitors benefitted from a briefing regarding the use and administration of the facilities, which was followed by a tour.
Article adapted from: http://guyanachronicle.com/2017/05/22/gdf-ug-in-move-to-augment-cadet-programme
UG: The Centre of National Transformation
Attached below is a Kaieteur News Editorial on Sunday May 7th, 2017 describing The Univertsity of Guyana's history and role in the national development of the nation.
Click here to download the PDF file.
Poor understanding of UG’s role in KN Editorial
I TRUST that all is well. The Kaieteur News editorial, “UG Needs better Leadership”, published May 04, 2017, [RS2]reflects a poor understanding of the University of Guyana’s role in Guyana’s development and place in the wider world. The University’s mission is to generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge in the service of the community, the nation, and all mankind in an atmosphere of free and critical inquiry (Academic Board 2001). It aims to provide a place for education, learning, and research of the highest university standard in the arts and sciences throughout Guyana. It is a mission and legacy bequeathed to us by our forbearers who had the foresight and wisdom to dream this dream in 1963.
Given this mission, what is the right framework for understanding and analyzing our national university? I humbly submit to the editor, that the guiding principles for a proper analysis of the university’s leadership and trajectory are as follows:
(i) Take a look in the mirror, initial conditions matter[RS3]. One must document and disseminate, with clarity and precision, what was inherited. One ought to ask: What challenges are we facing at our UG? What should UG’s role be in the context of Guyana’s socio-economic and political landscape? What pathways do we take so that UG can play its rightful role in the nation and beyond? A thoughtful observer might have observed the insufficiencies in financial capital and human capital, the lack of management expertise in both of these capital aspects, and the negative impact of these insufficiencies on system efficiency and on the campus’s conditions and morale.
A thoughtful observer might have documented the challenges inherited in the core teaching and research functions at the University. That same thoughtful observer might have noted the number and quality of lecturers; the poor salaries; the issues with timely payment of those salaries; issues related to benefits and class size; the condition of the library; and questions related to the accreditation of the medical and law schools. He or she might have asked where we are now less than a year into the tenure of Dr. Griffith.
(ii) Articulate a clear vision for a 21st century University of Guyana. It is unclear from your reflection that the editor has a vision for the University of Guyana. What does the editor believe the future will bring? What narrative will the University project for the country? What other roles will the University have in the nation? I would direct the editor to the Hamilton Report of 2012, which notes that “The University should undergo a major restructuring programme to make it a high-performance institution.”
I should add that rapidly approaching a high-performance institution is a national imperative given the current socio-economic and political landscape of Guyana and the demographic, economic, social-cultural, political, security and sovereignty, education and health challenges that face the nation. A thoughtful observer would frame the actions of Dr. Griffith through these lenses.
(iii) Target high, value-added endeavours. Education of the highest quality is an existential matter in the 21st century. We can do fundamental research at a global level. I note for the record that in a nation of less than 800,000 that this is our competitive advantage. Our people, many graduates of the University of Guyana, serve across the globe in the modern knowledge economy. We need to apply those talents at home. [RS4]The current challenges in the sugar industry provide a proper test case—we must diversify and innovate and move up the sugar food chain, or we will die. The editor and this editorial do not serve the University and country well. They ask the wrong questions.
I close by noting the following:
Guyana’s population is 735,000. Forty nine per cent (49%) of her citizens are below the age of 24. An estimated 33% of her citizens live in poverty. Over 80% of her citizens with tertiary education have emigrated. GDP composition, by sector of origin: Agriculture: 21.8% (esp. sugarcane, rice, shrimp, fish), Industry: 25.3% (bauxite, sugar, rice, timber, gold), Services: 52.9%. With the discovery of oil and its expected “boon” in a few years, what role will the University of Guyana play in economic growth?
I submit Dr. Griffith’s vision of UG serves to facilitate educational and economic development—for citizens and society—fosters dreaming and changing personal and societal realities, moves Guyanese beyond being to becoming, enables discovery in all relevant fields. He offers Guyana a university which serves as an agent of change, a platform for Guyanese to explore myriad opportunities. The University of Guyana can be a stimulus for innovation in the 21st century, an existential investment for the nation. UG does not exist as a private business; it is an instrument of the nation.
We need to make the called-for investments. Sir Shridath Ramphal reminded us at the Commonwealth Education Conference in Sri Lanka in August 1980, “We have learned that education, when it is not geared to the needs of real development, and when it is not accompanied by progress in other spheres, can lead more to despair than to development, more to frustration than to fulfillment, and more to social tension than to social advance.”
Terrence Blackman, Dean
School of Science, Health & Technology
Medgar Evers College, City University of New York
UG athletes dominate National Schools Relay Festival
The nation’s highest learning institution, University of Guyana (UG) along with West Demerara Secondary and Christianburg/Wismar Multilateral School recorded some standout performances when the Ministry of Education (MoE) staged the second annual National Schools Relay Festival at the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora yesterday.
The student athletes of UG unsurprisingly dominated the tertiary segment of the event with their speedy footwork and their faultless baton passing. A quartet of sprinters from West Demerara romped home to victory in the girls 4x100m U-14 event which was anchored by the fleet footed Binka Joseph.
Jennis Benjamin ran an impressive anchor leg for Christianburg/Wismar for his team to take the top podium spot in the Boys U-18 4x100m event. Up to press time, the official results were still to be released. A full report will be published in a subsequent article.
- The University of Guyana