Almost five years after he unveiled his vision of one tertiary level graduate per household in Barbados by 2020, principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Sir Hilary Beckles is sticking to his guns. Describing those criticize the concept as unintelligent, Sir Hilary said having a tertiary graduate per household in Barbados was one way of ensuring the issue of poverty was addressed.
Since the university principal spoke on the issue in his strategic plan in 2009 there has been harsh criticisms from various sections of society.
But responding to questions from the media following a donation of bursaries by Scotiabank to the University at the financial institution’s CGI Tower, Warrens office on Tuesday, Sir Hilary said it was still his vision.
“It was that we wanted to see at least one graduate in every household from the campus and all the colleges in Barbados. It was notmeanttobejustCave Hill’ svision.It was higher education; so the [Barbados] Community College, the [Samuel Jackman Presocd] Polytechnic, the Cave Hill Campus, Erdiston College, BIMAP,” he explained.
“There are obvious reasons. It is a no-brainer, it is fundamental common sense that in this country the most reliable way, not the only, but the most reliable way out of poverty in this country historically has been education and higher education,”said Sir Hilary.
Sharing his personal experience of having gone to university and his brothers and sisters following suit, Sir Hilary added: “the effect of all of that was to lift the family out of poverty”.
“And I would like to see every household in Barbados have a similar journey. And every household in Barbados has the capacity to have a similar journey because the communities, the families, the country and the region will all benefit. So to criticize the notion of at least one graduate per household is unintelligent. And I have heard many places [including] on political platforms that to have one graduate per household is madness. It is not madness, it is commonsense. And any time you find your self criticising common sense, it is because you have lost your own,” added Sir Hilary.
SirHilaryalsoblamedthemediaforeither“notfullyunderstanding”or“seeking to undermine” the concept.