The University of Guyana (UG) is celebrating its golden anniversary this month. Fifty years and still going strong? At least we hope so. But let’s have a look at whether UG really has anything to celebrate.

20131005boxThere is poor infrastructure. The rundown, leaking lecture theatres have been in need of repairs for way too long. Protests by faculty and students have led to some work being done.

Timetables are confusing and this is particularly difficult for students who are employed – they cannot definitively tell their bosses what time off they need until way into the semester. And this happens every single semester.

There is a lack of proper campus security; lecturers are frequently tardy and the methods of teaching are ancient.

At 50 years old UG should have been a rival to the University of the West Indies (UWI), but let me tell you, we are not even close. What obtains at the Cave Hill, St Augustine and Mona campuses of UWI in Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica respectively is way ahead of where we are.

We churn out thousands of graduates each year and among them there are sparks of brilliance – bright stars that mostly leave for fear that they will burn out completely if subjected to even more mundaneness.

UG appears to be marking time. Or else, it seems as though it is going backward instead of forward. A lecturer, who was once a student at the same Turkeyen campus, related that during in his days as a student, there were bus shuttle services. One could buy a ticket from the printery and jump on a bus with various routes. And now? What do we do?  We walk out late at night to find minibuses at the risk of getting robbed. And oh boy! Do we get robbed!

Where is campus security? Ha! Don’t make me laugh.

UG started on rocky foundations and now those rocks are jagged. If UG falls under its own weight, it will be sorely damaged.

Now I know it is not fair to compare another country with Guyana. I hate doing it, but something needs to be said in the hope that something will be done.

Universities are known for having marvellous architectural designs, open spaces, monuments and bright atmospheres. Turkeyen is described by many students as depressing.

There is the ‘new’ Cuban Air Disaster monument, but the fountains are never switched on – at least not during semester days and the surroundings are filthy. The monument in GWLT needs polishing. The Caiman pond fails in its purpose of giving the campus a more natural look. Instead it looks like a canal in Georgetown.

It is up to the students of the university, both past and present to dedicate their time and services to upgrade the campus and make our university a better one. However, I do not think the past students look back after they have moved on. And as for the current ones – the past president of the student society was suspended from his tenure for misappropriation of funds (enough said).

He left without a trial, explanation or inquiry which left the students in a daze. The recent elections were dirty and mindboggling; more of a popularity contest than any attempt to deal with issues. We have been lied to and given dull promises so many times that every year it’s a Nancy story rather than a campaign.

The motto “Serve Guyana” seems very laughable, how many UG graduates stay in their homeland to serve? Really, how many?

Now that the university is 50 years old let us ask ourselves, where will it be in another 50 years?