…at UG?

With a new broom in the office of the Vice Chancellor of UG, there’s the usual flurry of activities and announcements that accompany these contingencies. There will be a re-looking at the entrance requirements for entering the tertiary institution – so as to re-instill “standards” in the graduates. The VC was most likely referring to the majority of graduates who can barely string together ten words to make a coherent sentence. Don’t ask about essays.

So what are the present criteria? Basically five subjects at CSEC including Maths and English. But that’s only the top of the iceberg that had sunk all previous well-meaning efforts at raising “standards”. UG is really two universities being run concurrently with the same teachers and students. One of these universities would be called a “Community College” in the US and awards an “Associate Degree”.

The latter institution is seen as substandard because it IS substandard. UG lowers its basic entrance criteria lower than the belly of a snake – you can gain your five subjects in five sittings, graduate from Critchlow that has no entrance requirements, Burrowes School of Art, registered nurses, etc – to enter this Diploma Programme. But you take the same classes with others fulfilling the requirements for the five-year Bachelors Degree – and even for the professional courses like Medicine and Law, which demand at least two CAPE passes!

So how’d you expect a lecturer – most likely the possessor of a Bachelors – to deliver a quality lecture to this motley crew – numbering over a hundred bodies? Mightn’t it be better to break UG into two Colleges? Maybe the Speciality CAPE school the previous administration had floated might form the nucleus of this institution? Maybe also remedial classes?

There’s also the perennial crisis for funds. Well, the new VC’s one of the new-wave breed spawned by the neo-liberal market fundamentalism mindset that is specialised to deal with that issue. It certainly was part of his job description at his last gig in the States. Didn’t do so well with the money-raising bit – but hey! – you never know, do you?

But this Eyewitness thinks the “standards” question will have to be answered before the second challenge can be tackled. What’s the point of spending all this money, donors will ask, not only to produce mediocre graduates, but also specialists in subjects for which there’s hardly any interests. Just how many International Relations graduates can Guyana absorb? Or Sociology? Or Communications Studies?

We just want to assure the VC the moment UG can fill the need for petroleum engineers his troubles – and ours – are over!

…over in the City?

Just when our Eyewitness thought better judgement might prevail on this Parking Meter monstrosity, up pops the report that the meters – well at least the first one – have landed! Since we don’t have the Star Trek “beam me up, Scottie” apparatus, the meter must’ve been shipped even before the City Hall Gang of Four went to Mexico. Playing fast and loose with the truth on the contract is obviously only the tip of an iceberg that’s still waiting to be plumbed!

What the demonstration of the meter confirms is “boat gone a watah” on this issue. The review suggested by Central Government will get nowhere under the excuse that there shouldn’t be “interference” between the different layers of government. That 90% of the Councillors are APNU, and can be morally “suaded”, isn’t even going to be floated.

So the only issue left is whether the $500/hour parking fee will stand. Of course not! The “concession” to bring it down to say, $400/hour.

And we’ll be instructed to be appropriately grateful for being screwed!

…in oil

So Guyana with a GDP of US$3B is gonna RENEGOTIATE its Profit Sharing Agreement with ExxonMobil with revenues of US$269B?

They’ll take on Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Haynes and Boone? Who’ve tied a dozen US Attorney Generals into knots?