Despite a claim to the contrary, the University of Guyana (UG) is still offering an undergraduate degree in history.
President David Granger on July 19th stated that he was disappointed that history was no longer being offered as a stand-alone discipline at UG.
He was speaking at the launch of Professor Emeritus Winston McGowan’s new book, entitled ‘A Survey of Guyanese History.’ The Head of State said that “what used to be one of the most powerful and the most dynamic departments in the entire university, has been literally downgraded…We need people like Winston, we need books like ‘A Survey of Guyanese History’ and we need to bring pressure to ensure that history is once again taught as a separate subject to the children of this country.”
However, Head of UG’s History Department, Esterine Adams, told this newspaper that while the Department had stopped offering a degree programme for several years, it resumed the programme in the 2015/2016 academic year.
“For several years we didn’t accept students because we didn’t have a large enough number to justify running the programme but eventually it was recognised that History is not likely to ever be a major with 40 or 60 students, so we began accepting students who wished to major in history,” she stated.
Currently, the Department offers a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree and an Associate’s Degree in history as well as several service courses for students in the Education Faculty majoring in social studies and several majors in the Faculties of Social Science, Natural Science and Technology.
Adams indicated that for the academic year 2018/2019, the Department has received 12 applications while there are currently five students in the third year of their four-year degree in history programme.
Further, she indicated that the Department has been active across the country in the last year. “We participated in the 2017 Walter Rodney Lecture Series and collaborated with the Guyana Prison Service for another series of lectures. There are several things being done in the Department, so I am not sure why persons are saying we are not here,” Adams noted.