I write to support Mr Ameer Bacchus’s letter in May 2 Kaieteur News about English being offered as a discipline at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus. Myself, like his daughter, graduated with a distinction in the language at the CSEC exams in 2000. I applied to the university last year to pursue a Certificate in Education in English, but several weeks after my application still had not been updated, and I had to switch to Social Studies recognizing that the English programme would not have been done anyway.
I, too, am a product of the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), of which I am an English major graduate. I am very disappointed that many others like me cannot further studies in a discipline which we have loved and cherished ever since we were students in high school. I am hearing through the grapevine that talks are going on at the moment about the possibility of offering the programme from September 2010. I hope that talks are indeed taking place. I hope there are persons fighting our causes on campus. I hope, too, that many of us already pursuing the Social Studies programme can switch with little or no repercussions come September 2010, when and if the English programme comes into full swing. I believe in the hard-working faculty of the language arena at UGBC and that this will become a reality soon.
Finally, I am not satisfied with the University of Guyana revising its marking schemes with regard to giving As and Bs and other grades. The university is now revisiting its criteria before lecturers assign a grade, in that is has employed stricter guidelines for lecturers to follow before assigning the much sought-after As and Bs. I believe many persons are struggling with the use of their language, and thus, this is wreaking havoc with their writing especially during the final examinations.
It is quite ironic that all of this is happening (with the grading system) when the university is reluctant (as it has been over the past years) to offer higher studies in English. Maybe now is as good a time as any to reintroduce (and to introduce to some extent) the many language programmes being offered at the main campus to students who wish to pursue same. If the quality of language skills is to be lifted, the university must be prepared to go the extra mile to cater for the needs of all students – all!