More than a decade or so ago my now deceased friend and colleague of Trinidad & Tobago would post me copies of CONTACT, a magazine produced by that country’s Private Sector Association, of quality and content I always wished it could have been emulated by our own counterpart body.
Amongst its articles of interest could be those which spoke to the close relationship that it maintained with UWI St. Augustine, who responded by creating education and training programmes that matched the needs of the private sector membership.
One kept wondering to what extent such a partnership existed between our comparable local institutions. The search yielded little returns, which then led to the enquiry about how active relationships were between related Private Sector organisations in the Caribbean as a whole.
It is in this context that one experiences a sense of shock at the announcement in Stabroek News of November 20, 2020 that the Presi-dent of Guyana has asserted himself as the appropriate authority to enter into an agreement with the Vice-Chancellor, UWI, Mona, Jamaica, regarding the provision of developmental programmes for some 20,000 Guyanese ‘over the next five years’ (the effective starting year being unclear).
Why the President would think that this announcement would have resonated but with any other than a deep hollowness is befuddling, even to future candidates. Even they would wonder why that Office assumed the relevant competence to address such a substantive human resources developmental strategy, in preference to the Ministry of Edu-cation, for example, but much more commonsensically, our own Univer-sity of Guyana.
There are two letters in Stabroek News of equal date which raise very pertinent questions about this squandering of any strategic approach on our part; for presumably this precipitate action relates to campaign promises of creating 30,000 jobs. Obviously they could not all be public service jobs. So when then was our Private Sector employers brought into this transparent picture.
As alluded to in the aforementioned commentaries what then would be the basis, comprehensive as it must be, on which UWI’s ‘aggressive business plan’ should be structured.
But most profoundly in this misconceptualisation, is the disrespect displayed towards our own Univer-sity of Guyana, and the implication that it has been evaluated as an institution not only unworthy of any exploratory discussion on the subject, but more deprecatorily, not considered as partnering with UWI in a project in which its evaluation of selectees will be required.
Then there seems to have been overlooked reference to critical vocational and technical skills, and the consequent by-passing of our related institutions – in sum therefore the Ministry of Education.
Here again the matter of relevant surveys of human resources needs mentioned in one commentary, seems to have been overlooked in this emotional rush to palliate extant supporters.
One can only hope that all parties at UWI, Jamaica, who are reported to have blessed the Vice-Chancellor in this exercise will also remind him of the propriety of including the colleague institution of the University of Guyana in what should be a creative human and socio-economic project.
Indeed it would hardly be surprising if this institution’s current and past students do not signal a protest at their alma mater being so blatantly disrespected.