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– express ‘no confidence’ in Vice ChancellorEven as they express no confidence in Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, the Unions of the University of Guyana are simultaneously pledging to work with recently appointed Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.Education Minister Dr Rupert RoopnaraineIn a joint statement issued yesterday, the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU), respectively headed by Dr. Mellissa Ifill and Mr Bruce Haynes, said that they welcome the unreserved commitment to the University of Guyana by the new Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.Dr. Roopnaraine, during an interview with this publication, acknowledged that the University’s subvention has not been nearly enough to ensure an improved operation,Wholesale China Jerseys, and he committed to transforming the tertiary institution within five years.“As Dr. Roopnaraine accurately surmises, the University has been starved of finance critically needed to maintain its physical plant and ensure the availability of needed material supplies for effective instruction. We therefore expect that the verbal commitment enunciated by Dr. Roopnaraine will be matched by an adequate financial one,” the unions said in the statement.It was also highlighted that staff and students look forward to the day when classes will be held in well-equipped lecture rooms rather than “the ‘stables’, when snakes, horses, cows, stray dogs and other animals are not regular visitors to our walkways and environs and, when visits to faculty and university offices to get basic tasks completed are not met with apologetic shrugs because ‘there is no ink, paper, white board markers, ’ or ‘the printer, photocopier isn’t working’”.In addition to the funding crisis, the Unions are urging the Minister to simultaneously address anUGSS President, Dr Mellissa Ifillequally critical problem, namely the governance crisis at the University. Grave deficiencies, it was noted, currently exist at two levels –  the University Council and Administrative/Management.GOVERNANCE AT COUNCIL LEVELMoreover, the Unions in their extensive statement amplified the belief that the University has always suffered from a dictatorial, authoritarian structure that gives the ruling party excessive influence through the University Council.It was pointed out that in April 2012 the two staff Unions along with the students’ Union, the University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS), petitioned Parliament requesting a review and urgent change in the UG Acts and Statutes to ensure the depoliticisation of the Council.This was due to the fact, the statement outlined, that the UG Acts and Statutes give sole discretion to the sitting Minister of Education to determine eight members of the Council – this constitutes a quorum. With (a) the absence of four nominees from overseas University Associations, who are never appointed due to either insufficient funds to pay for their attendance at meetings or to the fact the organisations no longer exist; and (b) a mere four academic members of the 26 member Council, the academic purposes of the University aren’t being realised.Instead, the Unions noted that Council is dominated by partisan political appointees who act in the bestUG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyiinterest of their political parties, a situation that “has been the status quo for 50 years and must change!”“It is instructive to note that both President David Granger and the Minister of Education, Dr. Roopnaraine, supported the Unions’ bid to change the statutes while in opposition. In fact, Dr. Roopnaraine introduced the petition on our behalf in Parliament and he chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee that was established to examine the UG Acts and Statutes,” the Unions reminded.It was emphasized by the Unions that through Dr. Roopnaraine, a petition was made for Council members to be appointed with significant experience in academia and who are chosen via an open,Cheap Jerseys Store, inclusive and participatory process involving the Minister of Education, the UG Academic Board and the National Assembly.Moreover, the Unions are calling on the Education Minister to speedily ensure that the UG’s Acts and Statutes are changed to ensure that those appointed to serve on the Council have the adequate qualifications/experience to contribute in a meaningful manner.This is in light of the fact,Wholesale Baseball Jerseys 2018, that the Select Committee has conducted hearings and received both oral and written submissions, and much of the work on the revision has already been completed by the Parliamentary Select Committee during the 10th Parliament.Another factor that will have to be taken into consideration is that Dr. Roopnaraine, who submitted the petition and chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee, is now the Minister of Education under whose purview the University rests.Even as the process to change the statutes is in train, the Unions are also appealing to the Minister toUGWU President,Mr Bruce Haynesquickly withdraw those distinctly politically partisan appointees on the Council and, following consultation with the varying interest groups they ought to have represented, replace them with individuals whose sole agenda is the development of UG.GOVERNANCE AT ADMINISTRATIVE/MANAGEMENT LEVELDespite acknowledging Professor Opadeyi as the ‘executive head of UG’, who is ‘responsible for the general administration’ of UG, the Unions at the same time stressed that they have no confidence in him.The Vice Chancellor is also tasked with ‘maintaining and promoting good order’ at UG and therefore is the key university officer with much authority and responsibility for good governance, financial management and control.But the Unions are of the considered view that Professor Opadeyi has failed to deliver in these areas of his authority and responsibility.“We further believe there can be no transformation of the University under his leadership. The Unions believe his contract must not be renewed because of the following: His misconception of the role of UG in national development and consequently failure to fulfill the mandate of the University,” added the Unions.Detailing the Vice Chancellor’s failure, the Unions outlined how he failed to prioritise the teaching and learning environment, and consequently, there has been virtually no improvement in that environment despite increases in student fees, and student action to demand such improvement.“His dictatorial, vindictive micro-management style has led to him presiding over demoralised and demotivated staff. His untrustworthiness, as exemplified by his countless broken promises and the currently stalled negotiations process. His unwillingness to genuinely consult with the established decision-making bodies of the university,” were listed among the failures of the Vice Chancellor. And these are compounded by “his alienation of staff at all levels as he seeks to arbitrarily close departments, including the most productive research department at UG,NFL Jerseys Supply, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and bully staff on the Workload policy.”According to the Unions too, “His circumvention and breach of university financial systems, practices and procedures including: (a) Failure to convene and chair the Academic Board’s Estimate Committee which has a statutory mandate to prepare estimates of expenditure required to carry out the work of the University and to submit them to the Council for approval.”Instead, the Unions observed, Professor Opadeyi has “usurped this function and assumed virtually total control over the Bursary; (b) His continued perpetration of the illegal act of failing to remit our GRA and NIS contributions to the relevant bodies in a timely manner – an act that he used to secure the termination of the services of the former bursar and chief accountant.”Accusing him of ill-advised cost-cutting measures, which take no account of the university’s commitment to the delivery of quality education, the Unions went on to blame the Vice Chancellor for divided loyalty due to his continued employment at the University of the West Indies and his private consultancy activities.”In other words, the VC has failed to maintain and promote ‘good order’ at UG by dominating or disregarding all the university structures and committees. This generalised ‘system over-ride’, ensures that only his priorities, plans and whims are accommodated,NFL Jerseys China,” said the Unions as they reiterated lack of confidence in Professor Opadeyi.“He does not possess the required skill set and therefore cannot be trusted with the task of positively transforming the University,Cheap Jerseys Supply,” they added.As such, the Unions are calling on the Education Minister to review the uncritical support of Professor Opadeyi he displayed as a member of the University’s Council.“We pledge to work with the Minister and MoE staff to ensure that the University becomes transformed into the tertiary institution our students and nation deserve – one that produces innovative, nationally relevant and groundbreaking research and offers the highest quality education to our students,” asserted the Unions.
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