Vice Chancellor for the University of West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles says the Caribbean has the lowest enrollment in tertiary education in the hemisphere.
“Those of you who have taken this responsibility to enter university are therefore in my judgement heroes to be celebrated for the responsibility you have taken for yourselves, your family, communities and this Caribbean region,” Sir Hillary said Friday night at the Matriculation Ceremony for 2017 enrollment.
The Vice Chancellor argued that the region’s poor economic development was directly linked to the low numbers of citizens with higher education and development.
“This region has suffered arguably more heavily than other parts of the hemisphere as a result of the economic recession of the last ten years. We have proven to be a little sluggish in terms of our response and this has a great deal to with the fact that we do not have enough citizens in the Caribbean who have professional training, skills development and higher education,” he said.
“Until the Caribbean comes to grips with the fact that the extreme levels of inequality among citizens is to be addressed and removed, we will continue to be in difficulty,” he added.
Addressing the freshmen, Sir Hilary urged them to take their education seriously and make the most of their university experience.
“This is not the time for people who are not serious. In the Caribbean, now more than ever, we need our young people to be very serious,” he said.