Barbadians have to stop being so selfish.
This stern warning came today from Minister of Education Ronald Jones as he addressed the winners of the 2013 ELAP/Canada-CARICOM scholarship programme at the Barbados Community College.
Speaking to the debate caused by the recent budgetary measure requiring Barbadian students attending the University of the West Indies from 2014 to pay full tuition fee, he said people needed to stop being so dependent solely on the state.
“The Government does not have money,” he said.
“[The State] takes money from other people and then redistributes it — it takes from those who have.”
He added that the cost of tertiary education in particular was a heavy load on his Government, one which was getting heavier annually and if there was to be something saved for the future, Barbadians have to make sacrifices and carry a very small part of it now.
“Gratitude now becomes an important emotion. He who is given much, much is expected of the those who have so received. I don’t know if any of you students … can tell me what
it costs to educate one of you here at Community College for a two-year programme or three-year programme? You never thought about it, you just simply accept it as a matter of course.
“It never comes into your consciousness that there is a cost — but there is a cost. Times are so hard, resources are so tough to get … but we want to still keep carrying the major part of the load on behalf of taxpayers. A country that has given much to its citizens, it’s citizens have to be responsible, they have to be committed, they have to be focussed.
“But more importantly, its citizens have to work hard, they have to be productive — they have to produce. There are no gifts in the world, they are just sacrifices, but people take the sacrifices as gifts. ‘I must be the beneficiary of everything’,” the former educator said.
Jones added that education at the highest level should make people selfless. They must be gracious and understand that a small economy like Barbados is trying to uplift all of its people, but it cannot be done at the same time. He noted that tertiary education was still very much worth pursuing by people looking to enhance themselves. (KC)