As the 2012 Barbados Scholarship winners, parents, family and friends celebrate the achievements of the students, Minister of Education Ronald Jones advises them to think carefully of the career path they wish to pursue.
Speaking to them this morning at the Ministry of Education’s Elsie Payne Complex in St. Michael, he explained that while he did not have the exact cost the 44 awardees would have on the State he could say that annually education took the largest slice of Government expenditure — 20 per cent to 21 per cent, amounting to more than half billion dollars.
“You must carefully study what it is you want to do, what career you want to pursue. It is not simply a job, it is a career that you should be pursuing.
“Once you have taken that decision, two years down the road you can’t write us and say ‘I am going to change…’. You can go, but then you will have to pay the additional years. If you get a three year degree that is what the scholarship will allow — it doesn’t allow six years, unless you are doing Medicine where six years is the norm.
“If at the end of two years you don’t want to do this and switch, we will just recognise one year. You will then have to find the resources for the remaining years.
“So that is why you have to be sure ‘This is what I want to do, this is where I want to study!’ and then you could calculate your achievement,” he said.
In further advice to the students, Minister Jones said the hallmark of success was not as a result of their native intellect but the hard work and application they applied.
“Learning is not about the one-off [act]; it is about the journey from the cradle to the grave,” he said. “So if you don’t keep learning there are others who will keep learning and bypass you. The ability to learn comes from your focus, determination and your commitment. There are so many others who would have started the journey with you, the same type of academic curve, the same type of academic focus, but somewhere along the journey some persons would have slipped for too many reasons.
“There are so many variables that could impact on your journey in life, how you handle them, how those that surround you handle them, the resources you have — those resources are not money but the emotional support that you need, to help get you through your journey. Learning, rather than the achievement of the award, should be satisfied,” he said.
Over the years the criteria for the attainment of Barbados Scholarships and Exhibitions have changed and he also commended the students for continuing to reach the bar set. He said he was proud because it was a testimony that when you raise the bar people reach the bar because of their determination and focus. (KC)