Minister Manickchand congratulates UG’s 2020 Optometry Graduates

At the virtual White Coat Ceremony held this evening, the Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand offered the warmest congratulations to the 2020 Class of the Bachelor of Science in Optometry programme at the University of Guyana.

Recognizing the status accorded to health practitioners in our society, Minister Manickchand said that she trusts the graduates will share the concomitant responsibilities, “for to whom much is given, much is required”.

The Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand while delivering her address at the ceremony

She encouraged the graduates to serve their fellow citizens with pride and to share their knowledge and skills for the betterment of their respective communities and immerse themselves in efforts to improve the social fabric of the Guyanese society.

Minister Manickchand said that though the BSc in Optometry at the University of Guyana is relatively new, it serves as a prime example of the University of Guyana’s expanding scope and relevance in direct response to the needs of the citizens of our country.

Valedictorian, Mr. Devanand Dhanesar

She said, “These needs transcend the quality education and training the graduands today have received and directly addresses the longstanding demand for improved healthcare in specialized areas across our country. Our nation now has another cadre of practitioners effectively equipped to serve our populace in this field that has been in great demand in our society for many years.”

Further, the Education Minister congratulated the class for offering a vision screening programme to the poor or disadvantaged at no cost. She said that such an initiative is the embodiment of the service ethic and civic-mindedness Guyanese must inculcate.

The special awards and recipients that were announced during the White Coat Ceremony

She said that the Government of Guyana is committed to working with the University of Guyana to expand the scope and reach of programmes such as the Optometry programme as part of collective efforts at attaining the strategic objectives of the University.

“We are committed to supporting your work and encourage the innovation and advancements reflected herein.

The special awards and recipients that were announced during the White Coat Ceremony

We are fully aware that the quality of life we enjoy is intricately linked to the quality of our human capital and as such, the University is a critical developmental partner.

Specifically, the fundamental principles and competencies advanced by the School, that of professionalism, collaboration, technical expertise, scholarship, communication, management and health advocacy are well positioned and will serve you going forward,” Minister Manickchand remarked.

The special awards and recipients that were announced during the White Coat Ceremony

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. Emanuel Cummings said that the White Coat Ceremony will always be a time for students to celebrate. He said that putting on the white coat signifies that the graduates have achieved clinical competence in the Bachelor’s Degree in Optometry.

He said that since the commencement of the programme at the University in 2010, the University has graduated 120 Optometrists. This year, the school has produced 11 graduates who now hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Optometry.

The special awards and recipients that were announced during the White Coat Ceremony

Valedictorian Mr. Devanand Dhanesar during his valedictory speech shared his personal story of where he came from to where is today as he sought to inspire his fellow graduates to not let unfavourable circumstances prevent them from achieving great things in life. He thanked his family and loved ones for supporting him throughout this important journey.

In addition to being this year’s valedictorian, Mr. Devanand Dhanesar was also deemed the most Supportive and All-rounder student of his class. He was also part of the group of students that were given the Best Research Project award. The other group members were Ms. Janelle Harry, Mrs. Thakurdal Dhanpaul, Ms. Davi Narine and Ms. Shanice Wilburgh. The name of the group’s research was “To investigate ocular manifestation among HIV patients at the National Care and Treatment Centre in Georgetown, Guyana.” The best Clinician Student was Ms. Imani Shada McKenzie.

A screenshot of the virtual ceremony

The other graduates of the 2020 class are Ms. Chimaine Mariah Collins, Ms. Juel Johashen, Ms. Chitra Hemraj, Mr. Hughley Ramlochan and Ms. Keniesha Tucker.