The longstanding issues of overcrowded classrooms and limited seating for students attending the University of Guyana (UG) have once again been highlighted after a video of students standing through a three-hour lecture was posted on Facebook.
In the video, which was posted by radio personality Stan Gouveia, several students were seen standing in the background of what was already a fully-occupied lecture hall.
Stabroek News was able to confirm that several students were indeed made to endure a three-hour long sociology lecture in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre without any seating arrangement available to them.
A student, who asked not to be named, further noted that this has been a frequent occurrence, especially for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Similar sentiments were echoed by another student, who described the situation as a longstanding one.
“In the earlier years, when we had the larger lectures, we would have faced the struggles but seeing that we are in fourth year, we do not have the overcrowding issue because the classrooms are much smaller now, between 35 and 40 students. However, we have challenges with seating because sometimes you go into a classroom and there is no furniture there. We have to be fetching out of other classrooms, disrupting other lectures and tutorials that are going on so that’s one of the issues that we are trying to overcome,” the final year student said.
The young woman, who also asked not to be identified, said that the distance from which furniture has to be brought from is not always short.
“It depends on which room has the furniture and if the room is occupied because you just don’t want to barge in and take the furniture, so we have to go [to] further places. When I entered university, my fees were increased to $210,000 so I was hoping to see a bit of change in procedures [in] how things are managed at the university but yet there is not much being addressed in terms of seating and classroom arrangement. It bothers me because I’m left to wonder where our money goes. We see a lot of seminars being held very frequently but we are not seeing the actual physicality of it,” she added.
Meanwhile, President of the University of Guyana’s Student Society Ron Glasgow in an invited comment told Stabroek News that though he understands that the issue is considered by many to be a longstanding one, the introduction of new courses has put an extra strain on the university’s infrastructural capabilities. “I believe that it is really bad planning on the university’s part because with the new courses that have been introduced and the ongoing works on the building, the current infrastructure up here will be strained,” Glasgow said.
Notwithstanding, he noted that it has been brought to the attention of the relevant body and he was confident that the issue is one that will be placed on top of the agenda of things to be addressed.
Public Relations Officer of the University of Guyana Paulette Paul told Stabroek News that the video was brought to the attention of the administration and systems are being put in place to correct the situation by today.
Though she opted not to specify what those measures were, Paul promised to offer more details on what steps have been taken. “There was a meeting with senior admin staff where the issue was brought up and recommendations were made to have it rectified,” she said. “The University regrets the inconvenience caused and wishes to inform its students that we are working on having it fixed,” Paul added.