Brilliant Guyanese in Education in ‘Region 11’ – by Francis Quamina Farrier

 – by Francis Quamina Farrier
September is observed as EDUCATION MONTH here in Guyana. Before I continue, I need to be temporary Educator and explain what “Region 11” is, as stated in the Headline. Guyana, which is located on the northern shoulder of South America, is divided into 10 administrative Regions. Some Guyanese, myself included, refer to all Lands beyond Guyana’s 83,000 square miles as “Region 11.”
In this Education Month September 2020, we highlight the achievements and selfless service of two Guyanese Educators who are based in ‘Region 11’ – America and Canada respectively. They are Dr. Dhanpaul Narine who is located in ‘Sub-Region’ New York City, United States, and Dr. Joy Agard-Mighty who is located in ‘Sub-Region’ Ottawa, Canada. 

 Dr. Dhanpaul. Narine hails from Vergenoegen on the East Bank Essequibo, Region 3, Guyana, a culturally mixed and inter-racial village. Narine attended various institutions of learning in Region 3, then on to the University of Guyana. During his early working life, he was a school teacher. Later a Research Officer with the Upper Mazaruni Development Authority (UMDA). That job took him into the deep forested area of the Upper Mazaruni District of Region 7, not far from the Guyana border with Venezuela. There he was in close contact with Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples. In 1978 Narine left his homeland and went to the United Kingdom where he entered the London School of Economics. There he earned a BSc (Hons.) Degree and MSc, Phil and PhD degrees. Moving over the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, he pursued post doctoral studies at Colombia University in New York, after which he resumed his teaching career.
Dr. Joy Agard-Mighty is from Georgetown and the daughter of a previous Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Oscar Agard. She is also a former student of the prestigious Bishops’ High School in Georgetown. “I was profoundly influenced by all of the excellent teachers that I had at Bishops’ High School,” she said, and mentioned the revered Lillian Dewar who tutored her in English. She also mentioned Music teacher Edith Peters who groomed her in singing. She loved singing and won prizes at Guyana National Musical Festivals. Emigrating to Jamaica in 1968, she spent 15 years in the Bob Marley island. While there she studied at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus and earned BA in English with Honours, as well as a Masters in Education. Joy Agard also got married during her 15 years in Jamaican. In 1986 she moved on to the USA, where she studied at Howard University in Washington, DC. There she earned a Masters in Business Administration. A year later, she migrated further north to York University in Toronto, Canada, where she gained a PhD in Business.
Later settling in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Dr Joy Agard-Mighty spent over three decades serving in Higher Education. During that period, she volunteered for a number of educational projects abroad. The most recent was a stint in Uganda, East Africa. It was organized by the Christopher Knapper Lifetime by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). She was recently honoured by that organization with a special Award. That award is given to educators who have made significant contributions to teaching, learning and educational development in Canadian higher education. In April and May of 2019, she again volunteered for a teaching stint abroad. It was to Mbarara, Uganda in East Africa. During the past two decades, she also made trips to Egypt and South Africa on similar educational projects.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, Professor Dr. Dhanpaul Narine responded to a request to teach a class of young adults using Remote Technology. That was a challenge for him. “I was not conversant with this method and it took me a while to learn it,” he said. “After many hours, I was sufficiently skilled to teach and it turned out to be one of the most amazing things that I ever did.”  At the end of the course, Dr. Dhanpaul Narine invited the students to meet with him at the Trimur Mandir in Queens, New York, and got a chance to listen to their stories. He later received a letter of appreciation from one of the students, Claudette Henry, which states in part, “Dear Professor Narine, you are amazing. Your warmth and love warm our hearts. You have helped us to dream big and see it come to fruition. Thanks for believing in us.” In 2017, Professor Narine visited his homeland Guyana and delivered the Commencement speech at the University of Guyana. Over the years, Dr. Dhanpaul has also written a number of Educational Feature Articles.
What is particularly noteworthy about these two Guyanese-born, Region 11-based Educators, is their willingness to selflessly give to improve the educational standards of those who are fortunate to be their students; be they conventical or otherwise. They are also other similar Guyanese educators up in Region 11.
 In closing, let us extend Happy 35th. Anniversary to the President College which is located at Golden Grove on the East Coast of Demerara, Region 4 here in Guyana. It was established by President Forbes Burnham in 1985 as a secluded boarding school of excellence.

Dr. Joy Agard-Mighty (at left) in Uganda with Academic Registrar Mr. Magara Silver
and Vice Chancellor Rev. Fr. Dr. Desu Karemire, and Students in the background.(Photo complements of Dr. Joy Agard-Mighty)

Professor Dr. Dhanpaul Narine with some of his special New York students. (Photo complements of Dr. Dhanpaul Narine)

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  • Leonard Dabydeen  On 09/21/2020 at 12:53 am

    Very informative and interesting article by Francis Quamina Farrier. The highlights of two of Guyana’s brilliant educators, Dr. Dhanpaul Narine and Dr. Joy Agard-Mighty in this Education Month leave us much to be proud of and to share with the future generation. Thanks for SHARING.

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