The encouraging signs of corporate and public interest in the growth and development of the Tain Campus of the University of Guyana needs to be emulated at Turkeyen, the university’s Registrar Dr Nigel Gravesande has said.
“What impressed me as much as anything else during the university’s 14th Annual Convocation at Tain last Saturday was the prominence of the private sector on campus. All of the 16 awards that were handed out that evening were sponsored either by the private sector community or by individual private citizens. I do not think that that level of private involvement was in evidence at the graduation exercise at Turkeyen,” the Registrar said in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Business on Tuesday.
According to Gravesande, “There is clearly an understanding on the part of the business community in Berbice as well as private citizens of the important role that the university has to play in the growth and development of the corporate community and the community as a whole. In a country such as ours where scarce skills are regarded as, perhaps, the major impediment to growth and development I do not see how we can ignore the need to create relationships between the university and the private sector.”
This year’s prize for the Best Graduating Student at Tain was sponsored by Republic Bank while the Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Agriculture Science was sponsored by K Basdeo & Massy Group. The prize for the Best Graduating Student for the Degree in Primary Education was sponsored by the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) while the prize for Best Graduating Student in the Associate Degree in Biology was sponsored by Poonai Pharmacy & Nand Persaud & Company.
Other sponsors from the business community included Greenidge Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Raffik & Sons Construction Service, Home Line Furnishing, Demerara Bank, Metro Office & Computer Supplies, Demerara Distillers Ltd and the Berbice Chamber of Commerce. Others sponsoring prizes included the Ganga family, the Anamyah family Devanand Sawh, Roy Baijnauth, Azad Taki, Vijai Cipriana, L Rambrich and N Hamid.
Meanwhile, Gravesande told Stabroek Business that corporate support for the university must go beyond providing financial support. “We need to move to a stage where the corporate community must seek to influence the very curriculum at the university. I believe that this kind of involvement is necessary since at the end of the day the curriculum that is being offered has to match the skills needs of corporate Guyana. What we need are structured committees that can undertake constant reviews of the programmes being offered by the University of Guyana as well as the use of industry officials to serve as guest lecturers,” Gravesande said.
The UG Registrar said he believed that there needed to be an acceleration of the use of university students for internships in the technical areas and in areas like social work. “I believe that internships make perfect sense, insofar as they allow for a marrying of the theoretical experience which the university provides with the practical exposure afforded by the workplace.”
Efforts over the years to forge relationships between the University of Guyana and the private sector have continually fallen short of expectations though individual private sector entities, including the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company have, over the years, continually made contributions to the university.
“Corporate collaboration with universities has become a global phenomenon over the years. UG has to move more strongly in that direction,” Gravesande told Stabroek Business.