The Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) of The University of Guyana (UG) at its statutory meeting on Monday, took several major decisions as part of efforts to improve the university’s financial condition and services to students.
Among other things, the F&GPC meeting approved the proposal by Vice-Chancellor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith to implement an annual graduation fee from November 2016.
All eligible graduating students attending the ceremony will be required to pay a graduation fee of G$10,000, while students not in attendance will pay a fee of $7,000.
“This new fee will cover the provision of gowns to the relevant students; rental of chairs and public address system for the ceremony; the Chancellor’s reception for students; the provision of diplomas; and the publication of graduation programmes and convocation booklets, among other things,” the University said in a statement on Thursday.
Moreover, for the first time, graduating students will be provided with diploma covers to safely store their certificates.
The proposal noted that UG has been financing the graduation exercises from its scarce resources throughout its life.
According to UG Registrar, Dr. Nigel Gravesande, “A recent survey of institutions of learning locally, regionally and internationally, revealed that a Graduation Fee is mandatory.”
The second major decision of the F&GPC relates to the perennial problem of the non-submission of grades by some lecturers.
The failure of some lecturers to meet the official timeline for the submission of mark sheets has been an issue for several decades now, and it has resulted in the Examination Division being unable to post grades on time.
This has had several negative impacts on students, including the delay in finalising prospective graduates’ profile; students being unable to matriculate from one programme to the next; unnecessary delays in processing official transcripts for students; delays in student course registration and delays in the sitting of supplemental/resit examinations.
The Meeting, at which a representative from the staff union was present, agreed on a regime of sanctions for non-compliance by lecturers. These include, but are not limited to, non-renewal of contracts, disqualification from receiving salary increments, and the inclusion of the timely submission of grades as an integral part of performance appraisal. Letters will also be sent to all defaulting faculty members urging them to submit all outstanding grades by July 15, 2016.
The Vice-Chancellor voiced his commitment to ending this disservice to and disrespect for students, and he pledged to implement fully the decision of the F&GPC. The sanctions take immediate effect.
Finally, the F&GPC endorsed a recommendation from the Administration to settle an outstanding labor-management dispute over salaries and benefits.
The decision entails paying the relevant staff members as follows: 23 percent increase to the nine 9 employees over whom there was a dispute related to their being already paid at “market rate’’;Traveling allowance increase for UA category workers to $17,000 per month for all those workers who have been receiving less than $17,000 per month;Traveling allowance increase by 90 percent for UB category employees; Increase in uniform allowance to $10,000 per year for all female UG employees to assist with the preparation of uniforms.
All payments will be retroactive to January 1, 2016 and will be made during the month of July 2016.
The Vice-Chancellor indicated his strong support for improving the salaries and benefits of academic and non-academic employees at the university but he also shared his expectation of respectful and efficient service to the students and the other constituencies of the university.