Seeking to attract more Guyanese to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Clement Sankat yesterday told local students that the institution can help nurture them into becoming the region’s next leaders.
“I’m here to help shape the careers of the young minds and set them on a trajectory that involves setting clear goals and milestones now with a clear vision for the future,” said Professor Sankat, who is also Principal of the St Augustine Campus, during an engagement with students at the Bishops’ High School yesterday.
Professor Sankat, who is Guyanese and is visiting Guyana to participate in a joint UWI and Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) workshop on biogas technology, decided to prepare a presentation for local students on the opportunities at the regional institution.
The meeting saw the attendance of some 56 students from Bishops’, one from Queen’s College, one from Saint Stanislaus College and a University of Guyana first year Law student along with the Headmistress of Bishops’ and representatives of the Ministry of Education.
Professor Sankat, who holds a Ph.D. in Engineering, is a Guyanese Queen’s College old student and two-time graduate from the University of West Indies. He stated that his purpose yesterday was to inspire the minds of Guyana’s student population by demonstrating the importance of higher education. He further explained that he was there to highlight the vast opportunities available at UWI and attract more Guyanese to benefit from the prestigious school.
The Professor said that young people need to take decisive and forceful action towards their development and argued that UWI offers the opportunity to do so.
He also spoke about the state of Guyana’s development.
“Guyana is rich in resources and has had the potential to become the driving factor of the Caribbean for a long time now. But when will we harness that potential?” he asked.
Professor Sankat also spoke about the history of UWI. He was proud of the fact that students of the supporting countries only paid 20% of the actual cost to attend but was saddened by the fact that Guyana was no longer part of this category. He explained that in 1962, then Premier Cheddi Jagan opted to pull support from the university—because of the unsustainable costs associated with doing so—to establish the University of Guyana (UG). He was of the opinion that this was a missed opportunity because the next campus was slated to be built in Guyana some years later. He opined that UG had a good start but would have stood a better chance of survival if it was alongside a UWI campus, notwithstanding the tragedies that came after 1966.
Sankat went on to describe the various courses and opportunities offered by the university, which he described as an institution committed to quality, with global standards at its forefront. He celebrated the fact that all the programmes offered by the school are accredited by international councils. All course information and how to apply can be found on the university’s website and on other online sources, such as the various social media outlets.
There was an interactive session that prompted students to raise their concern over the recent decision by the Council of Legal Education to discontinue automatic acceptance of the top 25 Guyanese law graduates to the Hugh Wooding Law School. Professor Sankat explained that UWI is in need of major expansion, which he said is the real solution to the capacity problem. To this end, he was proud to say that just the night before Trinidad and Tobago inaugurated its own law school, which recently received international accreditation status.