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AS A SOCIETY, there can be no gainsaying that we treasure education. After all, we have seen how it can open doors, bring new opportunities and change lifestyles for the better. Successive Governments, families and individuals have recognized that education is almost the singular way to develop self and country. And Barbados has been the better for the emphasis placed on consistently promoting the education of all its people over the past five decades. Last weekend we celebrated the successes of those who graduated from the Cave Hill Campus whether with their undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate qualifications. On Friday we hailed those young attorneys at law who were admitted to practice. We also beamed with pride at the success of others, whatever their areas of study. In the vanguard of this effort to uplift the citizens of this country has been our educators who have done an exemplary job over the years. We see the end-result of their efforts daily, as Barbados can now look to its own people to execute many a task, and in other circumstances supply the talent to take on challenges across the world. And we are proud of our successes, despite any perceived brain drain, as our educators hold office in prestigious universities in North America and elsewhere, or utilize their knowledge right here in the Eastern Caribbean helping to develop a member nation. Despite our successes though, we need to stop and have a critical evaluation, if we are to move forward with any measure of purpose to meet this changing world. Our education system has worked well, but it must be geared to meet the new challenges of a knowledge-based society driven largely by technology. The best people to lead that change will be our teachers. The teachers who will have to lay the solid foundation will be those presiding over early childhood: nursery and primary. Our teachers make a deep impact on the lives of their charges – in many instances more than parents and guardians. These educators must therefore help to shape these young minds in the most positive manner. Teachers responsible for students in those formative years must show concern, be good observers, and must reflect regularly – all of these things need to be done to ensure we are on the correct trajectory. Most importantly, our teachers at this level – and at all other levels – must have a clear philosophy of why they are in the classroom. Our teachers must accept that their lot will never be about earning lots of money. They are entrusted with educating the next generation and impacting their lives. They have to bring along not only the high-flyers, but those challenged in any way, get them the necessary help. Our teachers must be change agents because in them we place our trust, faith and hope for a better tomorrow.