UG Prepares for First Oil and Beyond
UG Prepares for First Oil and Beyond
Professor Ivelaw Griffith, C.C.H, Tenth Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Guyana is please to make the following announcements as part of the university's preparation for the First Oil and Beyond.
The Faculty of Technology
has been renamed the
Faculty Of Engineering & Technology
A new department of Pertroleum and Geological Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology is being planned for operation from January 2019.
A Consortium for Post-secondary Institutions The Higher Education Consortium on Engineering and Mining - is being established to streamlined and strengthen education delivery and
New Associate and Masters degree programmes in Petroleum Engineering will be offered from January 2019 in conjunction with the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of the West Indies.
The University will also be offering several new degree programmes:
- Bachelor of Nursing (Berbice Campus, September 2018)
- Associate of Civil Engineering (Berbice Campus, September 2018)
- Bachelor oh Psychology (September 2019)
- Masters in Psychology (September 2019)
- Bachelor in Youth Work (January 2019)
- Masters in Medicine - Orthopaedics and Traumatology (September 2018)
- Bachelor of Science in Food Safety (January 2019)
New petroleum dep't is small part of plans for UG's development - Vice-Chancellor
Although the University of Guyana (UG) has started preparing to cater to nurturing skills for the oil and gas sector with its planned opening of a Department of Petroleum and Geological Engineering next January, Vice-Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith says it is only a small part of the comprehensive plans he has for the institution.
“The business of oil and gas is not limited to technology. Coming into the industry, we are going to need people with the education skills and expertise in many areas,” he said.
“Take law, for example. There is the likelihood that we will need, in the first years, more lawyers and accountants than petrol engineers. There are contracts that are going to be signed, there has to be management and oversight of the agreements, we need people for that. Then there is health and safety. We have to beef up what we are doing in that area… every time there is drilling, there is an Environmental Impact Assessment that is going to be needed. So, that in turn means our Earth and [Environmental] Science faculty has to be beefed up. The works are offshore, so we are going to have to consider what are the environmental marine biology impacts of it. That means we have to poise our marine biology work in the faculty of Natural Sciences to cater for that and the list goes on. Every single faculty needs upgrades to cater for this. Us being an oil and gas-producing country requires us to transition for that new dispensation,” Griffith told Stabroek News in an interview.
Lifting the university’s standards and making its graduates globally competitive are key among Griffith’s plans but he is also passionate about the establishment of a department that focuses specifically on oil and gas training. He believes that it is necessary that locals should be equipped with the education and skills needed to work in a sector likely to be the country’s biggest revenue earner for many years.
‘Strengthening the pipeline’
It is why he has partnered with the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago to establish the Department of Petroleum and Geological Engineering.
“Last week’s set of events was part of the events to prepare for what I call our oil and gas adventure. Last week, I hosted the President of the University of Trinidad and Tobago [Dr Sarim Al-Zubaidy]. We know that we can’t do this by ourselves. We know that we are going to be establishing a new department and we don’t have all the labs, facilities and lecturers that are required,” he said, while alluding to the week of activities on oil and gas that the university hosted.
He said based on an invitation he had extended earlier in the year, Al-Zubaidy travelled here. It was during the visit, Griffith said, that he facilitated a luncheon with the UTT President and stakeholders, including government officials, university personnel outside of engineering and technology, the Ministry of Education’s Technical and Vocational personnel and the heads of the technical institutes.
From the discussions at that meeting, the Vice-Chancellor proposed the formation of a consortium so that all the tertiary institutions could “partner better in preparing for the oil and gas.”
“Not all the skills needed are going to be at the university level. Some will be needed at the technical college level. We don’t do welding here at UG, we don’t do carpentry and some of those things are definitely going to be needed,” he said. “But we know that persons from the technical institutes come to us to complete their university or associate degrees and we need to strengthen that pipeline. So the consortium is intended to strengthen the pipeline. If there is a lab that we have that is not being used and they need to use it, then they can have. I want to formalise that,” he added.
To foster and realise the skills needed for global oil and gas accreditation, the Vice-Chancellor said UG will have to look to its regional counterparts for help, initially, and he has started forging partnerships with UWI and UTT.
But to bring personnel from the universities would require paying them at competitive rates and having local students travel to complete some practicals. It is in this area that the traditionally cash-strapped institution will be turning to government and oil and gas stakeholders for assistance.
‘Digging a hole’
Government has already committed to half a billion dollars over a five-year period for works in the Technology faculty but more funding will be needed.
“Our university has grown up almost digging a hole to fill a hole, having lecturers having to scrounge to do two, three jobs because you are not paying them enough. We have to change that. The relevant stakeholders and the relevant stakeholders are government, industry and the students, have to be prepared to put the resources into the university,” Griffith said.
“I am very pleased that the government is already beginning to demonstrate that. We signed an agreement with [Natural Resources] Minister [Raphael] Trotman last year where we get $100 million per year, for the next five years, to help shape up what we have in mining and for energy that is coming. I also have a lot of support from the Ministry of Public Telecommunications. But we are not all there as yet, which is why we have to partner. Some of what we know is that we will need some lecturers from UWI to teach some of these courses. So, some of them will come to teach. Some of it will be online, but we also know that we will have to hire new people and we are going to be doing that in several different respects, both for the new department and for the existing departments. We don’t have enough lecturers in electrical, civil and mechanical engineering, so we are going to have to find the money to invest. So, the money is going to have to come from the government, going to have to come from the industry, [going to] have to come from students,” he added.
Griffith explained that the university has a planning committee that is crunching numbers and gathering data to determine how much will be needed annually to fund the new department while meeting local students’ abilities to pay the tuition. He said that he does not want to go to government or any company asking for aid until the university finalises an approximation.
“I have a committee that is working on the general costing but we are also working with UTT and UWI on those two programmes to be delivered in January and we have to finalise the cost. We are not exactly there yet. How much would come from government? I don’t know because I don’t want to go and ask for specific sums and don’t know what we are asking for. We have been getting small things but I am not comfortable that we have all the data as yet to go ask,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
“One of the worst things you can do is ask for channa money then to find out what you really need is real money. So, I know people are excited for us to go to Exxon and get US$50,000 now when it will be really US$5 million that is really needed. So we are still having conversations with Exxon and others but we know that we are going to need major investments. We need the data, we need approximate costs. So, when we sit down with them, we can say, “Here. This is what establishing the lab would cost, this is what it would look like, here is what an endowed share in petroleum would be, here is what a professor of practice would cost us annually,” he added.
With Guyana is poised to start collecting significant revenue with the slated start of oil production in 2020, he stressed that government needs to invest heavily in education if it wants to see holistic growth.
“The government needs to take some of that money from oil and gas and put it into education; put it into the university; put it into agriculture and diversify, not just get stuck on oil,” he added.
Task forces proposes axing political, special interest reps from UG council
A task force set up to examine the governance structure of the University Of Guyana (UG) has recommended that the membership of the university’s governing council be severely pared down and its functions restricted to policy formation so that the Vice-Chancellor (VC) can have greater autonomy in the day-to-day running of the institution.
Speaking on Tuesday at a Media Luncheon to mark the end of his second year in office, Vice-Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith noted that with the permission of the University Council, the task force, led by Professor Lawrence Carrington, was constituted to review the governance structure of the university.
After a year and a half of work, the task force is set to present its recommendations on July 26th at an extraordinary meeting of the council.
Among the recommendations to be presented is a call for “no partisan political representation or special interest representation on the university council.”
Griffith noted that the current University of Guyana Act requires that representatives from the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, American University of State Colleges and Universities, Committee for International Cooperation and Higher Education of the United Kingdom be included in the council, yet these bodies are “not interested in us.”
“Governance recommendation is that there should be a slimmer governance council focused on competencies and not special interest representation. That is a significant recommendation to what is proposed as the current governance arrangement,” Griffith stressed.
UG Registrar Dr. Nigel Gravesande further explained that the intention of the task force was to ensure that there was a greater level of intellectual autonomy at the university.
“The contraction of its membership ought not to be interpreted that sectoral interests would not be taken into consideration, but mechanisms would be put in place to ensure that these interests find their way into the governance operations, whether it is at the level of the Council that they be invited or the Academic Board, for example, to which private sector’s involvement in curriculum review, curriculum refocusing to meet the developmental needs can in fact be catered for,” he explained.
Reminding that there existed a nine month gap between the expiration of the last council and the establishment of the current one, Gravesande noted that the recommendation will allow for a seamless transition from one council to the other as appointments will not be blocked.
He stressed too that the recommendation will allow the Chief Executive, the VC, to have greater autonomy since the council will deal with policy and the VC will deal with “operational issues with a mechanism for accountability that is clear.”
“For the last 50 years, one saw an intrusion by the University Council into operational issues of the university; the day-to-day administration,” he stressed.
Gravesande noted that the existence of a “mechanism for accountability” will prevent a rogue administration from developing as the VC will have to report on all activities on a regular basis.
Griffith also noted that the existence of several reporting structures outside of the council will prevent the development of a runaway VC as there is the “Academic Board, the Finance and General Purposes Committee, and the Council of Deans.”
Griffith and Gravesande both indicated that if approved by Council, the recommendations would have to be approved by the National Assembly as an Amendment to the current University of Guyana Act.
Griffith has already met with Attorney General Basil Williams in expectation of this reality.
The University of Guyana Act currently states that the Council shall consist of 26 members, including the Chancellor, Pro Chancellor, and Principal and Vice-Chancellors. The other members, according to the Act, must be drawn as follows: One person to be nominated by the Committee of Deans; one person to be nominated by the Academic Board; one from the Guild of Graduates; one from the Student Society; one from the University of Guyana Workers’ Union; one from the Ministry of Education and Cultural Development; one from the Ministry of Finance; one from the political party in office; one from the minority leader; four from Non-Governmental Organisations which in the opinion of the minister best represents the interest of women, farmers, Amerindians and business; one from the Guyana Trades Union Congress; three by the Minister to contribute in the field of medicine and law; six persons identified by the Chancellor and of which one shall be from each of the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, American University of State Colleges and Universities, Committee for International Cooperation and Higher Education of the United Kingdom and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Bulk of Gov't grant expended on University of Guyana oil and gas programme
A significant portion of the $100 M grant which the University of Guyana secured last year as part of Government's effort to help the institution establish an Oil and Gas programme, has been expended. Last year, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the University of Guyana (UG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a $100 million philanthropic education grant for the period 2017-2018.
The grant provided the University of Guyana's, Faculty of Technology with much-needed equipment for its geology labs, curriculum development, training, outreach, and field research, all linked to the emerging oil and gas sector. It also provided specific allocations for all other faculties for student-centered enhancements at the university.
Speaking about the programme, Vice Chancellor of UG Professor Ivelaw Griffith explained that this is one of the university's most significant grants, with the GGMC. Griffith said that it is an investment by the Government in the institution, in an area critical to the nation's economy. He said that the project is a result of UG long-standing relationship with GGMC. He highlighted the fact, that many of the commission's staff through scholarships has received their higher education at the institution. To date, 87% of the finances have been pumped into realising UG's oil and gas programme.
Some $55M was used for equipment and supplies to the Faculty of Technology's laboratories, pursued by the GGMC, Some $10 M was expended on training; some $16M was for infrastructural projects through UG. When Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, handed over the first tranche of the funds ($45M) to the Vice Chancellor last year, he noted the government views the initiative as an investment in education, and development. The minister noted that the project is significant since “it represents a renewed and enhanced relationship with the Ministry and GGMC with the University of Guyana,” even as the oil and gas sector develops. Additionally, Trotman said that similar efforts are also needed in the gold and diamond mining sectors as they will not be neglected in the period, post-2020 when oil production begins.
Article adapted from: http://www.petroleumworld.com/story18061402.htm
UG to enjoy more autonomy under proposed system of governance
Under a proposed system of governance, the University of Guyana (UG) is expected to secure a greater level of administrative autonomy, which is set to eliminate special interest groups. Speaking to a gathering of media personnel at Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown, yesterday, Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith announced that the university is exploring the possibility of self-governance through a “greater level of intellectual autonomy.”
According to the Vice-Chancellor, the recommendations are towards preventing any form of interference by political parties, and other special interest groups into the daily affairs of the University. He noted that several recommendations have been put forward by a special reform committee on governance for the revamp of U.G’s executive structure. The committee, headed by Professor Lawrence Carrington, has proposed a governance model which is for a smaller council and allows the Vice Chancellor and his team greater scope to run the institution.
“The recommendation is that there should be a slimmer council on governance focused on competencies and not special interest representation. That’s a significant modification on what is recommended for change. Also key among the proposals is the recommendation that there should be no partisan political or special interest representation at the University Council. “There should be no ruling party representative or opposition party representative on the Council. The proposals give no legal, medical, private sector, framers and overseas university representatives the right to interfere in the daily management of the institution,” Professor Griffith emphasized.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, the proposals came as a result of several committee meetings and broader consultations across UG campuses which included the student body and the unions. He dismissed any possibility of arbitrary leadership at UG, since there are other layers of the executive which will be involved in the decision-making process including the Academic Board, Finance and General Purposes Committee, and Council of Deans. Added to that, Professor Griffith said that representatives of the tertiary institution have met with Attorney General Basil Williams to discuss amendments to the legislation, since the Act, and Statues which govern UG have not undergone any significant revision since 1963.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Carrington and his team have been working on their final report which will be submitted on July 26 at an extraordinary meeting. The meeting will finalise what the Act should be. Further to that, the Act needs to go for approval in Parliament. The statutes are really the internal governance arrangements, he added. The reform committee was established as a follow-up measure to the UG Transformational Task Force established in 2016. The task force had recognized the need for a Committee to assess and make recommendations for adjustments and/or amendments to the University’s Act and Statutes, including the composition of the Council and the core competencies required for effective Governance.
It was also noted that a critical imperative in the transformation process must be the recognition by all stakeholders that UG is an autonomous institution. The Task Force members also conceded that “there must be strict adherence to the principles of effective governance being dependent on, inter alia, vision, dedication, time commitment, leadership, transparency, openness, objectivity and trust. It was also agreed upon that UG, through its Council, must be accountable to the Government, students, staff, donors, alumni and the wider Guyanese community.
In keeping with the principle of effective governance, it was agreed that there should be a clear distinction between the Council’s role in approving and overseeing policy in accordance with the provisions of the Act, Statutes and Regulations, and that of the Administration, whose role is to execute policy and be responsible for the day to day administration of the University.
UG Vice Chancellor to have greater control of UG's day-to-day operations
The University of Guyana (UG) on Tuesday announced that a proposal is on the table for a smaller Council that will be solely responsible for policy while the Vice Chancellor and team will be given greater autonomy to run the institution.
UG Registrar, Dr. Nigel Gravesande said the Task Force’s proposed removal of political party, legal, medical, private sector, farmers and overseas university representatives from the Council would aim to ensure a “greater level of intellectual autonomy” for the institution.
“The contraction of its membership ought not to be interpreted that sectoral interests would not be taken into consideration, but mechanisms would be put in place to ensure that these interests find their way into the governance operations, whether it is at the level of the Council that they be invited or the Academic Board, for example, to which private sector’s involvement in curriculum review, curriculum refocussing to meet the developmental needs can in fact be catered for,” he told the media.
The Registrar explained that the intention is for the Vice Chancellor to enjoy greater autonomy to deal with “operational issues with a mechanism for accountability that is clear” and for the Council to deal with policy matters. “For the last fifty years, one saw an intrusion by the University Council into operational issues of the university; the day-to-day administration,” said Gravesande.
He added that the Vice Chancellor would have to account to the Council at an Annual Business Meeting. He would be required to submit Statements of Account and report on activities.
For his part, UG Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith brushed aside the question of a possible ‘runaway administration’ that will make major decisions in the absence of Council. “I don’t see the prospect, whether I’m the Vice Chancellor or whoever is the Vice Chancellor, or a runaway Vice Chancellor,” he said, adding that there are other layers of decision-making such as the Academic Board, Finance and General Purposes Committee, and Council of Deans.
He reiterated that advisory boards would be established to support Advisory Boards in faculties “Governance recommendation is that there should be a slimmer governance council focussed on competencies and not special interest representation. That is a significant recommendation to what is proposed as the current governance arrangement,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor said a two-day meeting of the Governance Committee, which is headed by former UG Vice Chancellor Professor Lawrence Carrington,last week concretised its recommendations that would be contained in a final report to an extraordinary Council meeting scheduled for July 26, 2018.
The Vice Chancellor and Head of UG’s Chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris have since met Attorney General, Basil Williams who was presented with a number of recommendations for revamping the University of Guyana Act. A similar meeting was held with Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry.
Under the chairmanship of UG Chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris, a transformation task force has examined the need for revamping the governance structure of the 55-year old tertiary institution whose Act and statutes “have not undergone significant revision”. The Governance Reform Committee, headed by former UG Vice Chancellor Professor Lawrence Carrington, has since submitted a report to the Council that called for wider consultatipon.
Article adapted from: http://demerarawaves.com/2018/06/12/ug-vice-chancellor-to-have-greater-control-of-ugs-day-to-day-operations-interest-groups-to-be-removed-from-council-if-governance-model-changes/
No political interference at UG - Vice Chancellor
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) Professor Ivelaw Griffith today lauded the hands-off approach of the current administration, in allowing the unrestricted day-to-day running of the institution.
The VC has been at the helm of the country’s premier tertiary institution for the past two years. He said since assuming that position, there has been no attempt to curtail his work or that of the university by the government; something that had shaped the university for years.
He was speaking to the members of the media at his second media luncheon at the Herdmanston lodge earlier today.
“As an indication of an achievement, sometimes you have to ask yourself not only what has been done, but what has not been done. I have not had a government minister, or the President or Permanent Secretary tell me who to hire, who to admit, who to graduate or who to give a scholarship to,” the VC said today.
This, he said is testimony that the administration clearly understands it’s role.
“The practising business, as usual, is not in the best interest of the University or the society and that for me is a signally important achievement.”
The VC spoke of his meetings with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Public Telecommunication, Public Health and Education that have been lending support to the University.
“I’m comforted in the support from government entities and non-governmental entities i- moving along,” he said.
A governance task force had already decided that there be no special or partisan interest represented on the university’s council. The Vice Chancellor said changes are occurring at the institution.
Article adapted from: http://dpi.gov.gy/no-political-interference-at-ug-vice-chancellor/
Professor Ivelaw Griffith turns two years as UG Vice Chancellor
Press Secretary and Television Anchor Malika N. Ramsey sits down with University of Guyana Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith. The two discuss improvements at the University of Guyana In the last two years.
UG Administration and senior staff union agree on salary increases
The University of Guyana Administration and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) reached an agreement on salary increases of six percent for UA staff for 2017, after months of negotiations. Although the Administration and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) had inked their agreement for a raise of 8% for UB staff earlier, the UGWU also needed to be part of the settlement, as it also represents some UA workers.
In addition to the Memorandum of Agreement, which covers the salary increase and stresses the importance of performance, the officials signed a Letter of Understanding which addresses the issues of timely grade submission and the design and implementation of a new performance management system. The signing of the two documents occurred on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Vice- Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith represented the University Administration, Dr Jewel Thomas, President of the UGSSA, signed on behalf of her union, and Mr Bruce Haynes, president of UGWU, signed on behalf of that body. The event took place at the Ministry of Social Protection, and was witnessed by Ms Karen Van Sluytman, Acting Chief Labour Officer. Also in attendance was Mr Lincoln Lewis of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, who was instrumental in securing the settlement.
The Agreement and the Letter pave the way forward as it relates to overall performance of all staff members, particularly the submission of grades by the teaching staff. The timely submission of grades has been a perennial issue at UG, and the Administration has sought the support of the Union to remind its members of their obligations to our students. The Administration acknowledges the tremendous work done by most staff members and is committed to ensuring improved service delivery by all staff. Thus, the deadline for submission of all outstanding grades has been extended to December 1, 2017. Staff who will not have met their obligations by then will not receive salary increases.
The stage is now set for some seven hundred (700) full-time and part-time academic and non-academic staff at the UA Level to receive an increase of six (6) percent across-the-board in their December salaries, as well as payments retroactive to January 1, 2017. As with the agreement signed on November 8, 2017 with the UGWU, the offer from the Administration was made in the context of what is affordable, in keeping with the mandate from the University Council, and it stresses the importance of performance.
Vice-Chancellor Griffith noted, “Today’s signing also sets the stage for a new normal at the university, where performance is just as important as payment, and where accountability and affordability are key to enhancing educational entrepreneurship.” Further, he reiterated that, “as regards affordability, these increases are not our only financial obligations. We still have an average of 4.5 percent merit award to
From left: Mr Bruce Haynes, President of UGWU; Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith; and Dr Jewel Thomas, President of the UGSSA
fund, as well as allowances for traveling, entertainment, and academic materials. We also have to cater for study leave (salary and housing for three months), sabbatical leave (salary and housing for 12 months), leave passage, and responsibility allowances for Coordinators, Heads, and Deans. I am delighted that we are able to close this chapter and begin paying the increases”.
UG IN BRIEF
With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under- graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities.
Public Relations Division
November 21, 2017
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- The University of Guyana