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Going in wrong direction

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Going in wrong direction

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Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles, says Barbados and other Caribbean countries are cutting back on university education when it is clear international pressures require the opposite response.
Responding to audience questions after delivering the Nation Newspapers 40th Anniversary Lecture at Frank Collymore Hall on Monday night, Sir Hilary said while Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours were cutting education, all the other areas in the hemisphere were expanding theirs.
“When all the other areas in the hemisphere are expanding education because it is the only way out, we are cutting,” he complained while pointing out the Caribbean had the lowest enrolment of citizens in higher education in the entire hemisphere – from Alaska to Argentina.
He said it was lowest in the English-speaking Caribbean, with only about 12 per cent of the population having had or being involved in higher education, while in North America the figure was 55 per cent and rising and in Latin America it was 45 per cent and rising.
Sir Hilary chided the region for focusing its response to education on “domestic local pressures” when he said it was quite clear that the international pressures required the opposite response.
“We don’t always get it right between responding to those domestic issues and recognizing what you need to do to be part of a global world.
“I think we are getting it wrong,” he stressed, arguing that the way out of the global recession was through innovation, entrepreneurship and the application of science and technology.
“Oftimes we promote the domestic conversation above and beyond recognizing enough to manage the local conversations. I believe that this is one such moment where the conversation has not settled in terms of how we position our society within the rhythm of things and at the same time respond to domestic issues.” (GC)