US$14.03M education sector improvement project launched

21st September, 2017 0 comments

Funded by the World Bank, the Education Ministry on Wednesday afternoon launched the Guyana Education Sector Improvement Project.

The project aims to improve teaching practices and student achievement in mathematics at the primary level in selected schools, strengthen the teaching capacity and improve the learning environment of the University of Guyana (UG) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS).

According to Project Coordinator, Quenita Walrond-Lewis, the project which costs US$14.03M, addresses critical areas in the delivery of quality education in Guyana.

Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson, said the Ministry is working to produce all rounded citizens starting from an early age. He expressed that the Ministry of Education has started works in several areas, one of which consists of reviewing the education curriculum, the delivery of technical and vocational education and the intense training of teachers.

The first component of the project caters to an integrated curriculum reform to improve student achievement at nursery, primary, and lower secondary levels.

The second component deals with strengthening the teaching capacity and improving the learning environment for UG FHS to ensure that it maintains regional accreditation for programs

The third component is project implementation support which encompasses monitoring and evaluation, procurement and financial management among others.

Education Minister, Nicolette Henry said this is one of the most comprehensive projects to be implemented in the sector. She also expressed that the initiative is in keeping with the theme for this year’s Education Month, “Promoting Wellness in Communities: through quality education”.

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Full international accreditation restored to UG's medical programme

3rd August, 2017 0 comments

Full international accreditation for the next four years has been granted to the University of Guyana [UG’]s School of Medicine. This development, which became official last week, was confirmed yesterday by Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith. Professor Griffith said that although full accreditation has been granted, it is however with some conditions. He said too, that the University will shortly issue a statement on the newest accreditation development. Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings, directed this publication to the Vice Chancellor. “He is the fittest person to comment on this.”

Regaining the accreditation was something that the University’s Vice Chancellor had identified as a top priority. This publication understands that the accreditation body, the Jamaica-based Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education, Medicine and other Health Professions [CAAM-HP], granted accreditation to UG because of the tireless efforts that were engaged to put recommended measures in place. The body, it was revealed, in making its reaccreditation decision had in fact given keen recognition to the outstanding leadership of the University’s Vice Chancellor in the quest to put certain measures in place.

Also taken into consideration were the efforts of key officers, including the Director of the School of Medicine and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, in this regard. But it wasn’t only the “highly motivated and committed faculty” that contributed to the CAAM-HP decision but also the “enthusiastic, motivated and high quality students.” Added to this, CAAM-HP’s decision took into consideration the work undertaken by the curriculum team to develop a new 2017 curriculum which this publication understands is likely to be up for revision in 2021.

CAAM-HP is the legally constituted body established in 2003 under the aegis of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM. The acquisition of accreditation is therefore dependent on an institution’s adherence to certain stipulated standards. This translated to the School of Medicine working towards achieving some 140-plus standards established by CAAM-HP. The standards are divided into several areas including infrastructure, educational resources, faculty and the curriculum itself, and several others. In essence, the accreditation body, this publication was informed, was able to address a gamut of concerns raised by CAAM-HP in its report of 2013.

Based on information out of CAAM-HP, accreditation for the UG medical programme was revoked because there were no progress reports forthcoming from the tertiary institution for the years 2014 and 2015. But the university was not in a position to submit these reports, since a number of measures had to first be put in place. Several of these related to infrastructure, educational resources, faculty and the curriculum itself, among others. One of the concerns of CAAM-HP that had led to the withdrawal of international accreditation in 2015 was the fact that there was no standing Memorandum of Understanding between the University, the GPHC and the Ministry of Public Health, making these clinical practice sessions formal.

Moreover, among the measures that the University had to address, leading up to the CAAM-HP assessment process, were the introduction of plans for a new Health Sciences Faculty, improved clinical and lecture facilities and other amenities for medical students. The accreditation body had also focused on the university’s staff development programme to which the majority of staff had engaged over the last few years. It was observed by CAAM-HP that that programme had in fact produced a positive change and a move toward using more active learning methods which have been built into the new curriculum.

There were also measures that were put in place by the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC,] which is tasked with aiding the clinical aspect of the UG medical programme. These were reportedly also commended by CAAM-HP which recognised that efforts in this regard has allowed for the availability of a wide range of the clinical material to the students, and that the early patient contact which makes the students learning more relevant.

However, it is expected that other measures, including the upgrading of facilities and the addition of new infrastructure, will be among the factors that will help to ensure that the accreditation status is sustained. The accreditation path was paved following a CAAM-HP site visit in November of last year. During the site visit both the Turkeyen Campus and the GPHC were under scrutiny.

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UG School of Medicine regains accreditation

2nd August, 2017 0 comments

The School of Medicine at The University of Guyana (UG) was recently “accorded Accreditation for four years from 2017-2021 by the Caribbean Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). The decision to grant re-accreditation with a few conditions to the UG School of Medicine was made at the July 2017 meeting of CAAM-HP. The School first gained accreditation in 2008 and functioned as a professionally accredited institution up to 2015.

The re-accreditation of the School, located in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Turkeyen campus, follows a site visit to UG in November of 2016 by a team of evaluators from CAAM-HP, to conduct a comprehensive re-evaluation of the teaching/learning facilities available at the School and meet with the various administrative sections of the University and medical students. The team comprised Team Chair, Professor Christopher Stephens, Emeritus Professor of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK; Team Secretary, Professor Jonas Innies Addae, former Head of Preclinical Sciences Dept. and former Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago; and Professor Trevor McCartney, Professor of Surgery and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica and former Medical Chief of Staff, University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica. The team was accompanied by Ms Lorna Parkins, Executive Director of CAAM-HP and Professor Emerita Marlene Hamilton, Chair of the CAAM-HP Council.

In commenting on this long awaited announcement Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith congratulated the faculty, students and staff of the School of Medicine “on this signally important decision” and expressed appreciation to personnel and students of the School, the University Library, Registry, Estate Management, Information Technology, Personnel Division and other units, His Excellency President David Granger, the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Education , PAHO/WHO, and the Georgetown Public Hospital, for their contributions to this successful outcome. He stated that "This investment of time and resources by the university in the re-accreditation of the School of Medicine is a tribute to the entire university and it strengthens our brand overall as we pursue Project Renaissance." He further said, “however, substantial amounts of time and money will be required to complete the needed enhancements of one of our flagship programmes." This sentiment was echoed by the Director of the School Dr Ronald Aaron who emphasised that the accreditation was due to "community effort, now the real work begins".

Shafali Milton, President of the University of Guyana Medical Students’ Association, expressed pride in the role played by the students in the eventual outcome. She said, “The road to regain our status as a regionally accredited medical school was filled with countless challenges, however, we, the student body were undaunted and did everything in our power to assist. We are elated at the result of hard work from both the administration and the student body and on this note; we would like to thank everyone who contributed in the process. The UGSM has regained its position as a prestigious institution in the Caribbean, one which the current students as well as its alumni can be proud to be associated with. We look forward to new endeavors as the journey continues".

Dean of The Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Emanuel Cummings, noted in his brief history of the School that it was established in 1985 in the Faculty of Health Sciences as a Medical Practitioners programme which included four years of medical training and two years of internship. This was upgraded in 1990 to a five-year programme followed by a one-year internship. To date, the School has graduated more than 500 doctors who are working in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Australia, the CARICOM Region and locally in leading positions in the Health Care Sector. Notable graduates include the current Junior Minister of Public Health, The Chief Medical Officer, Heads of Paediatrics, General Surgery, Orthopaedics, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). 



With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under-graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities.

Public Relations Division
August 2, 2017 

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UG Rehabilitation programme graduates few, but too crucial to health care to discard - Health Sciences Dean

26th June, 2017 0 comments


Although they are not named among the most popular programmes offered, those that fall under Medical Rehabilitation at the University of Guyana [UG] are no less important, especially when they suffer from conditions that limit the effective functioning of various aspects of their anatomy.

The knowledge gained from courses such as Bachelor’s Degrees in Physiotherapy, Speech-Language, Audiology and Occupational Therapy have long been found to be very instrumental in this regard.

It was against this background that the Rehabilitation Department of the Ministry of Health decided to collaborate with UG a few years ago to realise the Medical Rehabilitation programme. Thus far, the programme, which falls under the purview of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has graduated two batches consisting of not more than 12 individuals.
According to Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings, although the numbers are few, offering the Medical Rehabilitation programmes is still very relevant. He noted that while it was introduced as a general Rehabilitation Services Degree, the university with the support of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association [ASHA], was able to apply some modification touches.

Under the broad heading of Medical Rehabilitation, the Rehabilitation Services programmes are coordinated by Dr. Shaine Villareal of the Philippines. The programme has also been gaining immense support from Peace Corps Guyana which has been bringing to Guyana very experienced professionals to assist with lecture sessions.

Also, local doctors who were trained in Cuba, and elsewhere, have also been lending lecture support. Other trained professionals within the public health sector have also been contributing their services.

Despite the high quality of the programme being offered, Dr. Cummings admitted that very few persons are attracted to the programme. He, however, attributed this to the fact that “these [programmes] are all new health care profession training [at an advanced level] to Guyana.” He explained that the Ministry of Health, several years ago, only offered such training at a certificate level.

The certificate programmes were offered for a period of 18 months and allowed persons to be trained in the various areas of rehabilitation services. Once completed these individuals would be qualified at the Assistant level and employed within the public health sector throughout the country.
However, with the higher level training at UG, the health sector is now in a position to recruit more qualified persons to cater to its delivery of rehabilitation services, according to Dr. Cummings.
Among those who have already taken advantage of the programme is Christine Alphonso. The ambitious young woman revealed that even after she had commenced studies at UG in the area of Biology she was not aware that the institution was offering a programme such a Medical Rehabilitation.

She confided that her interest in sports would have undoubtedly caused her to be attracted to the programme had she been aware of its existence. Moreover, when she learnt of the programme through a friend, Alphonso said that she immediately made a switch. She chose to pursue training in Physiotherapy and last year graduated among the second batch of students to have completed UG’s Medical Rehabilitation programme. She passed with distinction.

Alphonso is currently a Physical Therapist attached to an arm of the Rehabilitation Department of the Ministry of Public Health which is located at the Brickdam, Georgetown Palms Geriatric Home.

It was rather simple to enter the programme, according to Alphonso, who explained that once persons would have attained success at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination, complete with Mathematics, English and a Science Subject, they can apply for the programme.
“I wanted to do this [physiotherapy] because I like sports a lot but I really didn’t realise that the rehabilitation programme entailed so much. You can help not just athletes or persons with sports related injuries but now I can even help people who suffer from stroke, arthritis, spinal cord injury and a lot of other conditions…once you have a limitation in movement you are referred for therapy and people really can get better,” asserted Alphonso.
She finds joy offering therapy to the several persons she has been assigned since joining the department in January.
Recruiting persons, such as Alphonso, back into the public health care system is indeed among the objectives of the programme, according to Health Sciences Dean.
“The programmes we offer are geared at improving the quality of life for persons who have a disability so that they can be incorporated back into society so if we are able to train one person and put them to work in audiology, for instance, that is a jack pot for us….there was a time when we didn’t have anybody.”
The Dean said that UG will be working in close collaboration with organisations such as ASHA to have some of its very successful graduates have access to even more advance training.
Dr. Cummings hopes that more persons will gravitate to the programme so that they too can benefit from training that can ultimately help to improve the delivery of service offered locally.
The Dean is convinced that with proper career guidance more students could be aware of the variety of programmes offered, not only at the vanguard faculty, but at faculties throughout the university.

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UG to administer nursing programme

15th May, 2017 0 comments

AMID alarming failure rates, the Public Health Ministry is moving ahead with plans to revamp the Registered Nursing Programme in Guyana, with the aim of offering it at the level of the University of Guyana as against the Nursing School.

In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Principal of the Georgetown School of Nursing Cleopatra Barkoye, disclosed that the Public Health Ministry is collaborating with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), University of Guyana (UG) Faculty of Health Sciences and a Brazilian University to have lecturers and nurses train at the Master’s and Doctoral levels in the field of Nursing.

Barkoye explained that the authorities, through this initiative, are setting the foundation for the Registered Nursing Programme to be transferred to the University of Guyana by harnessing the calibre of lecturers needed for such a significant move. Eight lecturers and nurses with first degrees will be selected for the Master’s Programme, while five persons, who have already acquired their Master’s, will be selected for the Doctoral Programme. A team from the University in Brazil will be here in Guyana by July, 2017 for the final selection. The Faculty of Health Sciences has already shortlisted the applicants. The first batch of nurses and lecturers will commence their studies in September, 2017.

Though the majority of the Nursing Tutors have acquired their Bachelors of Science Degrees in Nursing, and collectively have more than 300 years of experience under their belts, Principal Barkoye said there is still a great need to sharpen their skills. In 2015, a Nursing Tutor Certificate Training Programme was initiated with the primary support of PAHO, to boost their capacity. This new programme being embarked on by the Public Health Ministry is necessary, and will help to fast track the process, Principal Barkoye stated. “The Caribbean and the world at large have left us behind. They are two steps ahead of us. They are saying that really and truly the Registered Nursing Programme is done at universities, so I am pleased that we are moving in this direction as a CARICOM nation,” she posited.

Once the tutors are adequately qualified, the principal tutor said the Public Health Ministry will take the necessary steps to have the Registered Nursing Programme dissolved at the level of the schools and offered only at the Bachelor’s level at the University of Guyana. “When you have a bachelor’s, you have a wider scope of knowledge, and you will recognise that research is really important because that is how we practise,” she posited. However, while the Registered Nursing Programme will be offered at the level of the university, the Post-Basic Midwifery Programme, the Direct Entry Midwifery Programme, and the Nursing Assistant Programme will still be taught at the level of the school.

“While there is still a need for the school, the Registered Nursing Programme must move beyond the school, because that is where the world is; and if we stay here we will always keep ourselves behind. If the world is moving, we have to move with it,” Principal Barkoye said. In Guyana, the Registered Nursing Programme is complemented by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programme, which is offered at the University of Guyana for a period of two years. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing commenced in 2002 under the leadership of Gwendolin Tross – a veteran in the field of health education and nursing.


Commenting on the state-of-affairs of nursing in Guyana, Barkoye contended that the system has failed the nurses that are in training. According to reports, the 2016 Professional Nurses State Final Examination, which had to be re-taken earlier this year, had a failure rate of 90 per cent. Barkoye is maintaining that it was the system that failed the nursing students. “We don’t have enough lecturers in the classroom, in none of the schools. We don’t have enough materials.

The curriculum specifies that you must have a clinical instructor, we don’t have any clinical instructor in Georgetown and New Amsterdam, what we have are clinical supervisors,” the principal tutor pointed out. Painting a vivid picture of the situation, Barkoye disclosed that the Georgetown School of Nursing has 343 students with only seven tutors. “For every 20 students, you need one lecturer, that is what the system requires,” she posited. Due to the shortage of tutors across the three nursing schools – the Georgetown School of Nursing, the Charles Roza School of Nursing in Linden and the New Amsterdam School of Nursing – there is not room for specialisation and tutors are forced to “teach too many things at once.”

However, Principal Barkoye said there is indication that things are going to get better for both students and tutors. She pointed out that following the high failure rate, the Public Health Ministry in collaboration with PAHO held a retreat with the primary players, including the students, to determine what are the loopholes within the system, and the avenues that can be taken to address those problems.

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