UG launches Berbice campus alumni chapter
The University of Guyana (UG) in its efforts to re-connect with past graduates and past faculty staff, last week Wednesday, launched the Berbice campus chapter of its Alumni Association. The goal of the Alumni Association is to connect graduates and past faculty and staff of UG in a reciprocally beneficial relationship of investing, nurturing, fundraising, mentorship and development. Persons are being urged to give back to UG through scholarships, mentorship, equipment, books, internships, monetary gifts, travel bursaries and through other kind gestures.
At a simple ceremony held at the university’s Berbice campus to mark the occasion, Tenth Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith (Class of 1980 and 1981); encouraged those gathered to give back towards the development of the country’s sole national university. This campus was established in 2002 and produced its first batch of alumni two years later. The Vice Chancellor said that an alumni community cannot be built by “simply wishing it would happen.” In this regard, he said this is where the process of institutionalization comes into play, adding that one way to do so is by creating alumni associations and chapters.
Professor Griffith pointed out that the purpose of these chapters is not merely to garner funds, but to also play a vital role in helping to bring others into the university so that they could have similar or better experiences. The strength of any university has to do with its graduates, and how these past students help to strengthen the brand of the university and how they help to pave the way for others. More than half of a century after it was founded, the University of Guyana on June 2, last, launched its Alumni Association under the banner Proud Legacy: Prosperous Destiny at the institution’s Turkeyen campus.
Speaking at that event was Professor George Danns (Class of 1975) who noted that the establishment of an alumni association is long overdue, as he spoke of the importance of alumni in sustaining the educational charge of the university. Pointing out that the University has educated past and current presidents, cabinet ministers and the acting Chancellor and Chief Justice, Professor Danns recommended that the alumni association be registered as a not for profit voluntary organization consistent with the university statutes and the laws of Guyana. Deputy Vice Chancellor for Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE), Professor Paloma Mohammed (Class of 1992 and 2000) has since revealed that the New York and Toronto chapters will be launched later this month, while the London Chapter will be launched later in the year.
Soil testing lab at UG Berbice could boost rice yields
Farmers in Berbice will soon have access to a $24Million soil and disease testing centre that could send record rice yields even higher.
The unit is a collaboration between Nand Persaud Group of Companies and the University of Guyana’s Berbice Campus and it should be in place in about three months.
At the sod turning for the building today at the John’s Science Centre, President of the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, Poonai Bhigroog noted the initiative is a step in the right direction in advancing agriculture in a region where it is the backbone of the economy.
He explained soil testing is important for a number of reasons: farmers will be able to boost crop production, protect the environment from the use of excessive fertilizers, diagnose plant problems, improve the nutritional balance of the growing plant and save money and conserve energy by applying only the amount of fertilizer needed. Moreover, it will help in producing a healthier nation as consumers will benefit from food produced from the best and safe practices. Bhigroog also lauded the partnership with the university and the private sector and pledged the chamber’s support.
“With the closure of the [sugar] estates many have returned to farming and they are certain to benefit from this venture. Graduates can be employed in this centre, experiments can be done to advance agriculture.”
Director of the Berbice Campus, Gomathinayagam Subramanian who has been instrumental in making the centre a reality said; “My dream was to always help the farmers and the dream came true with the help of the vice chancellor who always encouraged me.”
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith remarked that the university will also be embarking on an institution for food and security.
“We will pursue that journey of creating a sound basis for policy and advice on agriculture and food safety and nutrition. we will need many more corporate partners, civic partners to be able to take this nation to a higher level not only being able to take this national to a higher level but actualizing the potential for the Caribbean and for South America.”
Chief Executive Officer, Nand Persaud and Company Limited, Mohin Persaud said the company remains committed to improving the lives, production and productivity of farmers as well as that of the community and given that students can also benefit from the laboratory the decision was taken to construct the facility in East Berbice.
Persaud is optimistic that with the use of the lab farmers in Berbice, they should be leading the country and ultimately the world in yields.
“I expect with the use of the lab, farmers can be able to get at least yields of 50 bags per acre given that we have flats lands and fresh water. There are a few farmers that are getting 50 bags and with soil tests, they can now increase that to 60 or more bags per acre. With this, I see no reason why we as a country should not be the world leaders in rice production as very few countries have access to flatlands and fresh water.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nand Persaud Group of Companies and Brother of Mohin, Rajendra Persaud said while the initiative is a good one from his company, he is very pleased with the actions of the university and by extension the government for partnering with a private company for a joint venture. He said the initiative is aimed at making decisions based on scientific information and will transform the agricultural industry and make it more competitive.
Article adapted from: http://dpi.gov.gy/soil-testing-lab-at-ug-berbice-could-boost-rice-yields/
The 'Determined Crew'
By M Margaret Burke
THE University of Guyana’s Final Year students of Tain Campus, Berbice have been very determined to construct a shade house and to present it to the Winifred Gaskin Memorial Secondary School. It is mandatory for final year students who are reading for their Degree in Social Work at the University to actively engage in activities which will help them to cultivate what they would have learned during the four years of study.
CHOOSING THE WINIFRED GASKIN SECONDARY SCHOOL
This was the initiative of the Faculty of Social Sciences Final Year Project for the course in Professional Development 2 (DSW 4100), under the guidance of Lecturer Chelsey Halley- Crawford. It was steered by three students-Christine Persaud, Ashley-Ann Fable and Andrea Charles who gave themselves the name “The Determined crew”.
After the outline was given by Halley-Crawford for choosing somewhere to work with, the Rehabilitation School in Port Mourant and the Special Needs School in New Amsterdam were the two schools given much thought by the three students, but in order to make every group member satisfied with location, the Winifred Gaskin Memorial Secondary School was the final choice. “Upon speaking with the Headmaster, Mr. Imran Ally in the first instance, he was delighted to have the ‘determine crew’”, Andrea Charles told the Pepperpot Magazine.
Charles said that the Winifred Gaskin Secondary School is located in what is considered as a ‘catchment area’ that is said to be of a low socio-economic standing. Furthermore, it was observed that there is a prevalence of illicit drug use, among other social problems, in the area. It was also believed that some of these factors may have an impact on the lives and performance of the students of the institution. As such, one of their main targets of intervention was the ‘shade house’, which is to be used by the students as part of their farming activities. She added that the ‘Determined Crew’ also got involved in counselling and motivational talks.
“It should be noted that had it not been for our heavenly Father, the project could not have been a success. The ‘Determined Crew’ upon embarking on the journey knew it would not have been an easy task to get accomplished. We knew [that] it required a lot of commitment, patience, cooperation and skills. However, we were ready to take on such a role and as such did not back down from the task,” Charles said.
BRINGING ABOUT CHANGE
Charles told the Pepperpot Magazine that as a team they held each other’s hands and encouraged each other throughout the journey just to fulfill one of the long-awaited dreams of the school. The final year student said that for the Social Work students, it was not about just doing a project but the emphasis was placed on bringing about a change wherever they are placed.
PROVISION OF NEEDS
The main responsibility of the social worker is to provide for felt needs of the client and to improve their present condition. It’s not just about a good grade, but also to leave a smile on someone’s face by changing the situations for the best. It was not a project that was pushed into the face of the school, but the headmaster expressed that the shade house was an urgent and long expected dream for the Agriculture Department of the school. He also stated that the students tend to feel demotivated to go out into the sun to work and as such the shade house would aid in their Agriculture practicum for the CXC students.
From the start this project was a collaborative effort, Charles said. The willing support from headmaster, staff, students and community members, was key to the success of the project.
Charles said that the ‘shade house’ cost approximately $96,000 and that sum of money could not have been realised were it not for some generous and kind-hearted people who contributed significantly. Such persons are Poonai’s Pharmacy, Chattergoon Supermarket, Ishmiel, Hamid General Stores, both at Fyrish and Rosehall, Razac, Anamayah administrator of the Anamyah Hospital, Dr. Sugrim and the Emo Supermarket. Also, the carpenter, Junior Dejonge and boys did an amazing job in constructing the shade house. The ‘Determined Crew’ is very grateful for all the support we received in accomplishing this task.”
The project was completed before March 20 and was handed over to the Winfred Gaskin Secondary School on March 22, 2018, in the form of a closing ceremony. During the ceremony, the ‘Determined Crew’ and the headmaster expressed their heartfelt gratitude to each other, while Halley-Crawford also expressed her gratitude to the School and the group for such a “marvellous job” done.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHER SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS
It does not matter the task given to you, once you look at it in a positive an optimistic way, you can get through. The Famous Light Bulb inventor, “Thomas Edison” tried a thousand ways in getting his bulb invented. Each way he would have learnt something different why it didn’t work and were able to correct it. Also there is one time when Thomas Edison Lab caught fire after so many efforts he would have put into his lab- it is said that he slept on the lab’s table many nights- but instead of becoming frustrated in which many of us would have, he sent the children home to go and call their mother, for they might never have been able to see such a big fire again. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Article adapted from: http://guyanachronicle.com/2018/04/08/the-determined-crew
Crop Protection certification programme to be introduced at UG Tain Campus
Farmers from across Berbice will now be provided with the opportunity to be trained and certified in crop protection. According to the Director of the University of Guyana Berbice Campus Gomathinayagam Subramanian, a special certification programme has been drafted to engage farmers in Berbice with mostly practical training on crop protection.
“The certification programme is only for farmers and it does not contain much reading or writing. It is designed in a way that farmers can do the practicals which are expected to start this academic year in September,” Subramanian explained. Registration for the programme will soon commence and will cost farmers $50,000 each. The director noted that persons who are not farmers are also welcome to join.
“Maybe in the future, we will expand to Turkeyen but this is what the Berbice campus is going to offer, I already submitted everything to my faculty and they will take almost two months to confirm everything. But if other persons want to join they are free to do so; but it’s for mostly farmers” the director clarified. This exercise is expected to last for six weeks and Subramania noted that the certificate that farmers will receive on completion of the course, will be recognized similarly as any other certificate received the University of Guyana.
Nand Persaud invests $40M in UG Tain Campus for soil testing lab
With Guyana lacking the capability to fully support international markets with rice, the industry will soon benefit from a multi-million-dollar soil testing lab at the University of Guyana (UG) Tain Campus, Berbice. This new initiative will help farmers to make better judgment of the soil. Nand Persaud and Company Limited recently donated $40M to start the project.
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last Thursday evening at the Pegasus Hotel was the Company’s Managing Director, Ragindra Persaud, and Principal of UG, Professor Ivelaw Griffith. The CEO of the Company said that studies have proven that soil testing plays a critical role in the production of all crops, since soils are necessary for the various produces. The soil laboratory will help farmers all across Guyana to be better able to make the right judgments when it comes to the soil and what it needs, rather than guessing.
He added that the lab will assist the farmers to make scientific decisions on what fertiliser to apply to the soil. Persaud said that after the soils are tested, one would know what deficiency the soil has and the farmers will replace that. The farmers will also reduce the spending on fertilisers cost since they will know the right and adequate amount they have to apply to the soil. Persaud told the audience that farmers should be looking in the direction of reducing cost, especially in the rice industry since the demand for rice is on the rise.
He added that Guyana exports an average of 500,000 tonnes of rice annually. He reminded about the Cuban and Mexican rice deal; the countries import some one million tonnes of rice annually.
The equipment for the soil lab will be supplied during the first part of the New Year, according to Persaud.
- The University of Guyana