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Critchlow Labour College crafts sustainability model, restarts flagship course

CLC Lecturers and students at tjhe orientation for the one-year Industrial and Social Studies course

Starved of a government subvention for several years now, Critchlow Labour College (CLC) has revived its flagship course and expects that all its programmes will earn it enough cash to be sustainable.

CLC Registrar, Aubrey Norton said last Friday’s orientation of 94 students for the one year Industrial and Social Studies (ISS) course – an entry qualification to the University of Guyana (UG)- “means a lot” for the revival of the  “second opportunity college” for low achievers at the secondary level.

The institution hopes to rake in enough cash from the flagship ISS and several other courses to finance its annual budgeted expenditure totalling GUY$36 million for 2014. “If we can get half of what I have said going we will be financially viable. In fact, we are on the verge with just this one course of financial viability and so we will move to the others and that should put us in good stead,” Norton added.

Norton declined to discuss whether government’s subvention was still necessary, saying that his priority was to manage CLC in a sustainable manner. Government has refused to provide the GUY$2.9 million subvention for the past six years, saying that the institution has done a poor job in accounting for funds provided. The CLC is affiliated with the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) whose affiliates are perceived as antagonistic towards the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration.

The cost of the ISS is GUY$65,000 or GUY$70,000 if paid per month. “We sought to make this course affordable and we hope that you will honour your part of the obligation.”

CLC graduates in ISS would be required to sit an entrance examination before they are accepted at UG to pursue studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences. “It’s not an obstacle. It’s a measure of your readiness an preparedness for the university,” said UG Registrar, Vincent Alexander in his feature address.

The college plans to offer the following programmes in the weeks and months ahead: Diploma in Project Management, Communication and Effective Speaking, Occupational Health and Safety, Care for the Elderly, Management, Management and Marketing, Human Resource Management as well as a six-month Further Access to Education for course to prepare them for the ISS.

With the Georgetown Reading and Research Library expected to be Critchlow Library in another two months, the CLC Principal, Ivor English announced that students might be asked to pay for access to quality texts and research materials. “You may be required to make a small contribution towards the expansion of that facility for your benefit,” he said.

Norton stressed that ISS would be geared to provide students with a “head start” in a number of subjects including Research Methodology, Sociology, Caribbean Studies and Politics before they enter UG or the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).  “I want you to recognise as well that the success of the course is dependent on the Critchlow Labour College on the one hand delivering quality education and you on the other hand doing what you are required to do,” he said.

The UG Registrar stressed the importance of learning rather than being mere consumers of knowledge who can recall and regurgitate information to pass examinations and obtain jobs. “You’re not here merely for retention. You’re not here to say recitations. You’re not here to remember and to repeat. You are here to assimilate. You’re here to understand. You’re here to acquire the capacity to analyse to be able to deal with real life situations at the place of work,” he said.

The CLC Management has agreed to encourage the establishment of a Students Society.

CLC was established in 1965 by the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) offering education and training to workers in the field of trade unionism and industrial relations. It has sought to fulfill the educational aspirations of those who need a second chance at formal education.