Georgetown, Guyana – (August 30, 2019) Director, Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe told new entrants to the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences (FEES) that they can position themselves to benefit from the emerging oil sector, by cultivating critical thinking skills, pursuing learning and holding fast to their integrity.

Dr. Bynoe was at the time speaking at the FEES Orientation Ceremony, which was held yesterday at the School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation at UG’s Turkeyen Campus, Greater Georgetown.

The Director of Energy said the arrival of the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit, the Liza Destiny brings with it new technologies and opportunities for investment, but students must first invest in themselves to benefit.

“University students are expected to have certain qualities, which are important whether we are in the oil and gas sector, whether we are in natural resource management, whether we’re pursuing environmental management, whether we’re pursuing environmental sciences and one of the first things we have to ensure [that] we have is critical thinking. Critical thinking means that you have to be able to analyse for yourself. Not what someone said but what you have sat and deciphered, delineate and be able to come up with your cogent argument,” he said.

The Energy Director assured the students that if they sacrifice and invest in themselves now, they are sure to benefit in the future. He noted that critical thinking and research skills are the keys to problem solving and to overcoming challenges.

Dr. Bynoe also told the freshmen that while many of them may not yet have a fixed career goal they should focus on learning. The Director of Energy noted that complaints that university graduates cannot perform on the job are rampant. To combat this, students, he said, must discipline themselves to learn to grapple with new ideas and concepts and utilise smart technology to research new subjects.

“I know we chase after who has gotten a distinction and who has gotten a credit or who may just get a grade ‘C’; the important thing is are we learning as we go along because while it is good to get the distinction and the credits, it is also better to be able to leave the university knowing that you are leaving not just with a degree, but you have assimilated knowledge that will ultimately help you to be able to be employable… If as Guyanese we would be populating this new and emerging sector it is important that we are grounded and have a common understanding in terms of what it means,” he said.

Dr. Bynoe also advised the students that although university life can sometimes be fraught with anxiety over grades, they must maintain their integrity. He noted that while technology has made information readily available on varied subjects, smart technologies also make it easy to identify students who cheat.

“It is easy to plagiarise, but it is also easy to get caught because we have software which can indicate where a particular article came from. It is not sufficient to say I went online and I cut an article and I pasted it into my assignment because if you start cheating at university, you will cheat later on in life. If you start being dishonest in the classroom, it is difficult to see you becoming honest later on in life,” he said.

The Entergy Director also encouraged the students to be patient during their academic careers as graduates do not become experts overnight. He advised them to seek opportunities to volunteer to deepen their knowledge and to gain work experience and new skills.

“I am saying this because you may start out with one objective in mind, but as university students we have to be continuously challenging ourselves as technology evolves and new opportunities arise and as new areas are birthed before us to be able to say I want to go beyond where I am,” he said.

UG Registrar, Dr. Nigel Gravesande, Dean of FEES, Dr. Temitope Oyedotun and Head of Department (Ag) – Geography, FEES, Ms. Ramona Dabee-Johnson also attended the ceremony.

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