A former teacher who traded the classroom for business has suggested that the education system is failing to produce graduates who are innovative and creative enough to thrive in the changing global environment.
Captain of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF)/ Flow $20 Challenge Keith Miller implied that the current method of teaching was stale and the curriculum must be amended to include enterprise-based education.
Speaking this morning at the launch of this year’s challenge at Flow’s Warren’s, St Michael office, Miller acknowledged that not everyone would become or wanted to be an entrepreneur. However, he said even these would benefit from enterprise-based education because it would help everyone to become more innovative and creative, and to meet the changing needs of the workforce.
“Here we are now in 2015 and the landscape has changed dramatically and completely and the kinds of graduates we need now, we need them to be more than just academic. We need people to be enterprising at every level of society,” said Miller.
“We can all be enterprising . . . Think for yourself, be a leader, be innovative, think outside the box. Don’t wait for things to happen but actually make things happen.
“And in this day and age with the global economy the way it is, we have to create people who are enterprising as well as academic and hard working. Even in the regular job sector, the job scene for the kids today is so different,” he said.
The former teacher accepted that the school curriculum was complex, but said teaching entrepreneurship was not the answer. He said the days of spending a virtual lifetime in a single job were over and young people who will graduate in the next five to ten years will need to be equipped to do more than one job in more than one company.
“You can’t achieve that with the current education system. It was good but it is no longer what is required,” Miller emphasized.
He suggested the troublesome Sargassum influx should be used to help with enterprise-based teaching by getting pupils to think for themselves and to find their own solutions to the problem. This, he said, would help them understand the concept better.
Miller said the new approach would mean retraining teachers to get them away from the practice of getting students to simply repeat information garnered from textbooks.
“It is not about taking a book, the teacher learns it and then spits out information and ask the kids to repeat it. We have got to make them think for themselves. The best way to teach is to teach children how to ask questions,” he explained.
The BEF/Flow $20 Challenge will start on October 12 and culminate at the end of December. For this competition, for which 22 schools have signed so far, 15 students from each participating school will each be loaned $20 to start a business. They will also be provided with mentorship throughout the challenge.