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Fresh course

Trevor Yearwood

Fresh course

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GOVERNMENT is apparently having second thoughts about its commitment to placing one university graduate in every household.
Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this admission last night at the opening of a major education conference in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Stuart said that in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean education had played a key role in transforming post-colonial societies and had been the bedrock of development.
However, higher education faced a number of challenges, including the large number of graduates going abroad to work, he told the gathering that included principals and other educators.
“The National Advisory Commission on Education has been investigating these trends and has made some important recommendations in its just completed report,” Stuart said.
“Its overriding concern is the relevance of the education being provided in our schools and, by extension, the function of higher education in our society.
“It seems, however, that we’ve been overtaken now by events which are forcing us to rethink even our commitment to the goal of having a graduate in every household by the year 2015 and to facilitating this by providing free education up to the tertiary level.”
According to Stuart, an area of concern about the one-graduate-per-household programme is the male/female imbalance at institutions of higher learning.
“Present indications are that, if left to chance, the vision of a Barbados with a graduate in every household by 2015 will reflect a country in which the graduate in each household is a female,” he said.
“As of now the ratio of females to males at our major tertiary level institutions is two to one and growing.
“We must find ways to ignite the interest of our young males in the pursuit of higher education.”
The previous Barbados Labour Party Government had been pushing the idea of one graduate in each household under an ambitious programme to turn the island into a developed nation.
That educational programme found favour with Stuart’s Democratic Labour Party when it came to power in January 2008. (TY)