As Barbados’ economy undergoes a transformation, the minister responsible for Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce says there’s a need for curriculum reform in schools.
Minister Dwight Sutherland was speaking Friday at the City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union, Lower Broad Street Bridgetown headquarters during the launch of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme.
The programme is hosted by the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) and the COB.
Sutherland said Entrepreneurship, which is a Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subject, should be rolled out in all the sixth form secondary schools.
“The course of study is only pursued by a few schools. Perhaps there is the need to embark on a more extensive rollout among a greater number of schools in the near future,” he said.
“The call is being made for us to seriously re-look the curriculum and indeed make it mandatory that entrepreneurship is taught in our secondary schools.”
Sutherland noted that the 2017/2018 global report, produced by the Global Entrepreneurship Forum, cited a lack of global entrepreneurial development due to the lack of entrepreneurial teachings in schools.
“One of the major criticisms of our local education system is that it continues to produce graduates who are more preoccupied with finding a job on graduating from school, college or university than with creating jobs,” Sutherland pointed out.
Speaking to groups of students gathered from St George Secondary, Alleyne Secondary, Grantley Adams Memorial and Coleridge and Parry, Sutherland stressed that Government is seeking to create new wealth and build an entrepreneurial Barbadian who is “empowered and encouraged to take advantage of opportunities at home and aboard”.
With Barbados’ food import bill amounting to US$400 million, the minister emphasized that agripreneuriship seeks to create employment opportunities and also reduce the island’s dependence on imported produce.
“Any real chance to achieve long-term and sustainable food security depends on the efforts made today to help our children embrace agriculture with a similar passion demonstrated by our fore parents.”
The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme which is in its second year will feature 36 participants under the age of 18 from secondary schools, and one group from the Christ Church Constituency Council. It will run to March 2, 2019 and will feature training modules on consumer arithmetic, business etiquette, social media management, leadership and more.