Today marked a day of infuriation for me, a day of infuriation with the administration of the University of Guyana, one that cannot be forgiven or forgotten. A first examination, a mere quizz, like many others, was postponed on numerous occasions for varying reasons that ranged from inadequate seating, clashes with other courses and overall inefficiency in the allocation of the university’s scarce resources. However, today was different. Today, something unforgivable happened.
After two weeks of delays, putting a strain on students’ time, health and well-being, finances for travel, meals and accommodation, especially for those living in distant communities such as Linden, Mahaica and even Berbice, many persons were unable to write the examination still. How fair is it for some to be able to write the exam, and some not? Is the university premised on a first-come, first-serve basis?
I was one of those who was unable to write the exam initially. Why? Because there was a miscalculation of the number of candidates accepted to do the course of ECN 1100, that resulted in the shortage of exam papers. Note the late mention, of the specific issue, for this exposé is not merely about this course, but the overall performance of the administration, in executing examinations.
Now, back to specifics, there were approximately 800 sheets of question papers printed as a result of a personal check, of the university’s database of registered ECN 1100 students, by one of the course lecturers. This personal check was done, because the ADMINISTRATION was unable/unwilling to provide the technical assistance in garnering the precise information regarding the number of students ACCEPTED to undergo the course (note this number is different from those who have completed registration).
I have some familiarity with databases, and I am sure, had I been familiar or had access to the relevant information, and UG’s specific database programme I’d be able to derive the precise number of ACCEPTED students and thus adequately cater for the examination in terms of paper availability. This too affects seating accommodation, one of the apparent reasons the test was delayed to begin with. Now why couldn’t the technical department or the registry of the university provide this information? This is the burning question that I intend to get the answer to, on Monday.
Now to expand on my infuriation, I want the administration, lecturers and students to be aware of the measures I was and still am willing to take, to protest these occurrences. I, this afternoon embarked on a mission to find blow horns, pots and pans with sticks or any form of loud noise maker to disrupt the unfair examination privilege of first-come, first-serve, when all should be equal, at the University of Guyana. Why should students be forced to trample over each other just to get a precious seat to sit the exam? Why should students have to lift furniture to the classrooms from across the campus, just to have a place to sit the examination? Why should students have to bend over backwards to be granted the ‘privilege’, the ‘grace’ to write the examination that they are paying for?
The situation is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be met with fervent opposition by the students. The issue extends to two other courses I’ve taken, POL 1100 and ENG 1105, precluding the shortage of examination papers. I’m sure several other courses have been affected as well. This begs the question, what long term measures are being mulled to improve accommodation? Also why is the university enrolling more persons than it could accommodate? The university is clearly unable to offer the facilities it is charging students for and should therefore put a cap on enrollment. Are they that reckless and greedy and further dishonest, that they’d willfully allow students to pay for a service, they clearly cannot provide? I see a vulnerability here, someone say breach of contract? Moves to construct a new building need to be undertaken NOW, while the improvement in furnishings is also paramount and achievable in the short term.
Now to speak to my revolution,I would like to start a collection fund to purchase blow horns to facilitate the much needed student oppositon, in the event that there is another occurrence or an occurrence of a similar nature. It was never my desire to play an antagonistic role with the administration but it clearly calls for that. It was my hope that I’d be able to work along with the student society, sit in on meetings, be privileged to the financial information of the university, so that I can make personal appraisals and recommendations, etc. While this too can be done, I will also be pursuing the more forceful measures to draw attention to the plights of the students of the University of Guyana.
If lecturers can strike for poor wages and improper working conditions, then students can strike for poor education facilities and a terrible learning experience. Students can and should shut down the university. Unless we take a stand now, we’re gonna be faced with this continued ineptitude for a long time to come. This especially in light of several invigilators mentioning that the issue is a recurrent one.
So let us take a stand and object to the injustices now, to protect ourselves and future generations. Don’t accept anyone’s word, that it won’t happen again, I’m sure those words were said to many before us. So whose with me?