Financial services, renewable energy and the creative industries are three areas which the European Union could possibly assist the region to reposition its citizens to capitalise on new growth sectors.
This assurance came from Head of the Social Development Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Zissmos Vergos, as he addressed a presentation ceremony for the Poster and Jingle Competition at the Barbados Community College.
The EU is sponsoring the competition and the official noted that policy makers have also introduced measures to enhance science education, promote a research culture and enable entrepreneurship.
He further suggested that a modern competitive Barbados would be driven by the ideas and actions of critical and creative thinkers who could effectively adapt and function as part of a digitally-networked global ecosystem.
Stressing that in this modern society, students of the creative arts would have a distinct advantage, he said: “Creative arts students are the ones who will help to concretise the abstract thoughts of the new generation. They will be the ones who will create the visuals, sounds, and animation for the new and innovative products and services. They will be the interface designers, graphic artists, animator, sound engineers, producers, advertising executives, and the CEOs of the 21st century businesses.”
Vergos charged that in spite of this emerging reality, the EU recognised that national budgets and requested donor support continued to be focused on traditional areas within the education sector, but felt that this paradigm was progressively changing.
He acknowledged that this philosophical change in education would take time and resources.†
The delegation head however expressed doubt that students leaving Caribbean institutions would be nationally or globally competitive if they were not exposed to modern technologies, tools and pedagogical practices.
The diplomat disclosed that over the next few months the EU, in collaboration with the government, would assist in the enhancement of the music lab in the Performing Arts Centre at the BCC; provide equipment and related resources for a summer animation workshop; provide support for the delivery of a course on mobile application development and provide support for the professional development of BCC tutors and secondary school teachers in the delivery of the above programmes.
He suggested that these initiatives would help to build capacity at the college while expanding learning opportunities and potential career options for students.
Vergos also gave local policy makers the assurance that the EU would support new thinking backed by applied research and the translation of those ideas into patented, marketable, globally competitive, innovative products and services. (NC)