The European Union Project Officer for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr Stephen Boyce, has said that while Barbados’ education ranks high worldwide, too many on the island continue to fall through the cracks.
The Barbadian educator made this point last night at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College’s 2015 graduation ceremony in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, to an audience that included Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
The former Queen’s College teacher and Senior Programmer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, said it was easy to become nostalgic during events like last night’s graduation and speak about the nation’s vaunted education system.
“Yes, we can be proud that Barbados’ education system continues to rank in the top 10 in the [UN] Human Development Index; yes, we can continue to invest a staggering half of a billion dollars in the sector annually; and yes, we attained universal primary and secondary education decades before our neighbours.”
He said that notwithstanding these facts, there remains, “our worrying failure rate during transition from primary to secondary, and from secondary to the world of work.
“So too is a poor level of participation of males in post secondary education, when compared to their female counterparts.
“In addition, we are still working towards early childhood education, providing adequate support to those with special needs, and identifying those factors that continue to put our youth at risk.
“We must also be mindful that our new workforce has different views on career development,” he said, while noting that past generations had looked to career stability in a single organization for their entire lives.
However, “in contrast those of ‘Generation Y’ look for career mobility, personalized benefits, flexible schedules, and for strategies that differentiate them from others.
“They will invest in advanced degrees and professional certifications, and usually expect to be paid for that certification.
“Those of Generation Y’ will occupy more than half of the world’s working population, so we must take them into consideration.”