Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says he is concerned about the spending of tax dollars on segments of education where students are interested only in the certificates to be had and not necessarily in being educated.
Noting that his party had introduced free secondary education in the 1960s to enable parents to send their children of that age to school, Stuart told an audience at the launch of the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013 that the distinction must be made between schooling and education.
Adding that they had to make sure that the plants were there to which the students could go to be educated, he said: “There is always the problem, and we have to be very careful of this problem, that the distinction between schooling and education becomes blurred and that people go to school whether it be at secondary level and nowadays more onerously at the university level, go to school but leave uneducated because of the obsessive preoccupation with getting a designation or getting a certificate or whatever; but not seeing the absorption of knowledge and the internalisation of information as a way to equip them to better understand their environment and to establish meaningful relationships not just with their environment but with their fellow human beings.
“That is a threat against which I think we all have to be warned. We must not allow schooling to become confused with education. Education has an empowering dimension to it that connects people to the challenges posed by their environment and allows them to face those challenges courageously and confidently, not because of what they like or do not like, but because of what they have the capacity to understand.”
The Prime Minister made his commends amidst announcements that Barbados had placed 38 out of 187 countries in the human development index, and his own identifying of issues such as developments in education, health care, life expectancy being among the reasons the country was also listed within the index as having a state of very high human development.
Beyond the development of plants to ensure education, Stuart said Government also intended to expand the offerings, adding: “I am becoming a little concerned that taxpayers dollars are being spent on too many people nowadays for whom getting a designation is an end in itself, but in terms of seeing the acquisition of knowledge as an empowering, and I don’t mean empowering in the sense of being only able to demand a salary, but empowering in the sense of being able to exert a little more mastery over the environment. Subject to that we will continue our educational thrust both at … the secondary and tertiary level,” he said. (LB)