By Youth Perspective
THE University of Guyana recently held its convocation ceremony for the class of 2020. There were outpourings of joy and happiness from the graduates’ friends and family all across social media. Many success stories were inspiring and some that even led the inspired to tears of happiness. It feels empowering to know that as time goes by, more and more Guyanese are equipping themselves with degrees. It is also enlightening to know that our country will be in good hands for years to come as the intellectual capacity of this generation and the next will only grow more and more. I am overjoyed by this. I and alongside other Guyanese feel this way but I am afraid that there is a selective few who disregard this sentiment.
What I am about to explain should be of no surprise to anyone, especially graduates, as it has been an ongoing exasperation. The majority of the feedback students receive is often positive but as yin yang suggest, there is always a little bit of bad in all that is good. Some students are met with insults or even worse; they’re bullied because of the mere fact of having a degree in higher learning. I can recall being laughed at during conversations with others as I referenced some bit of my academic experiences or being met with disgust because I advocated the importance of higher learning.
There are times when people question your ability to have “common sense” or your will to engage in normal conversations because of your degree. Let’s not forget the countless times we’ve all heard the phrase thrown at us, “book sense isn’t common sense”. It’s usually said by the speaker as a personal jab or insult,but for what reason? I don’t know. I’ve been down this road so many times with countless people. I don’t wake up and decide to shame other people for not having a degree and/or a lower intellectual capacity than I do. As such, I expect the same kind of treatment in return. Judge me based on my character and personality, not from a general assumption created to insult students of Universities for simply having a degree(s).
This is very demotivating to students who spend years upon years to elevate their intellectual capacities. Many use education as a tool to escape poverty or as a form of self-betterment. For some, it simply isn’t a choice as it is essential to gain a degree in their line of required work. The question remains, how can one ever have a distaste for education? This simply shows how poorly some Guyanese value education and its importance. It’s disheartening to even fathom. As we enter a new economic and social wave with the oil industry, we ought to hold a positive collective mindset on education and higher learning. If not, Guyana will surely lose many of our intellectuals to brain drain, or even something worst I’m afraid.