THE University of Guyana (UG) has recorded a number of ‘firsts’ among the graduating class of 2021, including a PhD in Bio-diversity, Master of Medicine in Diagnostic Radiology, Master of Agro-Technology and Business, Bachelors of Mathematics (online) and the advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Education.
The first graduates with any PhD from UG will be those from the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Biodiversity, an interfaculty research programme being offered jointly by the faculties of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Agriculture and Forestry.
The two PhD graduates, Dr. Cecil Boston and Dr. Rajini Kurup, were among the first set of graduates to have walked the virtual graduation stage in the first of five graduation ceremonies held on Friday, March 19. Dr Boston’s doctoral thesis focused on: “A study relating to the use of medicinal plants in the treatment and management of Diabetes mellitus in Guyana with a case study of Pakuri (St Cuthbert’s Mission) on selected indigenous herbal treatment for diabetes.”
Dr. Boston successfully defended his PhD thesis on June 1, 2020. His earlier degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a Master of Science in Environmental Management.
“I am elated that I was able to complete this programme,” Dr. Boston, who currently serves as the Dean of the College of Medical Sciences at the University of Guyana, said.
Dr. Kurup’s doctoral research, on the other hand, was focused on microbial diversity and knowledge and practices among diabetic foot patients in Guyana.
She completed and successfully defended her research thesis on May 28, 2020. The young woman possesses a degree in in Zoology and a Master of Microbiology.
The proud graduate commented: “I am happy and grateful to have achieved this milestone. Of course, it’s important to know and plan one’s research that would help or benefit humankind and the country. “This programme could help more towards the benefit or betterment of environmental sustainability of the country. I’m thankful for all involved in the success of this program, thanks for your words of encouragement and thanks to the University of Guyana for providing this opportunity.”
Dr. Elroy Charles, one of the three persons responsible for the development of the PhD programme while he was Dean in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and who continued as faculty representative on the committee, said he is elated with the success of Boston and Kurup as well as several others expected to march in the 2020/2021 graduation later this year.
He noted that the programme is essential because Guyana is 80 per cent forested with a high level of biodiversity of flora and fauna, a lot of which is unknown to science. According to Charles, there is a huge amount of work, especially on taxonomic diversity that needs to be done.
The academician explained: “Quite often, the Guiana Shield is represented as the last bastion of biodiversity that remains largely untouched. For this reason, the graduates’ work is important as it addresses and contributes to the body of knowledge that is necessary for the development of Guyana and the region. Graduates from the Doctoral programme will energise the Guyanese public and academia and the programme will gain the recognition it deserves.
“When we go abroad to study, the majority of the study is centred on issues relevant to that country. By having our own PhD programme, we can address our local issues thus enriching our body of indigenous biodiversity knowledge.”
The UG Doctorate in Biodiversity (UGDB) is a state-of-the-art doctoral research programme for doctoral research training. It also seeks to address managerial issues of significance for the future of biodiversity, its ecosystems and services for Guyana, the Guiana Shield, the Caribbean and the world. The mission of the programme is to generate primary and cutting-edge knowledge in the complex field of biodiversity.
Close to 2,500 students have graduated from the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen and Berbice Campuses, and from the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education programmes for 2021.