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Greater investment in higher education needed in the region

Premier Andrew Fahie. (GIS photo)

Premier Andrew Fahie has said he believes greater investment in higher education is needed in the region if the Caribbean member states are to achieve the United Nation’s (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Premier Fahie made the statement at the just concluded University of the West Indies (UWI) Development Partner Forum, which is part of the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

He said the investment in universities will help to develop both the institutional capacity required to help drive sustainable development and produce the critical mass of graduates needed to support the diversification of the Caribbean economy.

“There is a very strong case for putting higher education at the heart of resilience, particularly for Small Island Developing States whose vulnerabilities require them to be nimble and able to adjust quickly to new economic and social circumstances. However, the people on the ground must be equipped with the knowledge and training to do so,” Premier Fahie stated.

“The Caribbean’s most valuable asset is its people and it is our investment in them that will make the difference in our recovery from COVID and in our longer-term development. However, we need economies of scale for the maximum impact of any investments made in higher education. The region will be best served if our institutions of higher education and development partners all work together,” he argued

New technologies needed to bridge digital divide

Fahie also highlighted the importance of investing in Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) which, when aliged with higher education, is critical for development in the region.

“In terms of investment, we know that in order to bridge the digital divide, we need to inject funding for new technologies, new equipment, better broadband connectivity and ICT infrastructure to reach the most remote communities,” he said.

“We also know that in a knowledge economy, lifelong learning is the new currency and skills training can enable citizens to quickly pivot to new economic activities. Very importantly, we also understand that higher education extends beyond schooling to the shaping of civilizations and the harnessing of indigenous knowledge,” the Premier added.

Fahie further said he believes the aforementioned approach is the only way the Caribbean will emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, with more diversified and competitive economies and more sustainable and inclusive societies.

The theme of the meeting which was virtually held was ‘Investing in Higher Education to Build More Diversified and Resilient Post-COVID Economies in the Caribbean.’

Also in attendance at the meeting was Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley; Antigua & Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown; the UWI’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hillary Beckles; and other ministers and distinguished delegates.

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19 Comments

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  1. First says:

    First you need to have lower education before higher education. The children need to be able to do simple math problems in their head without the use of fingers and toes. They need to be able to read a paragraph and understand the meaning. When that is accomplished you can visit the next step of education.

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
  2. No says:

    matter the level, until teachers are respected as crucial essential professionals, are treated likewise, are paid a decent wage and timely increeases, the state of education will remain mediocre, no matter the level, but especially on the elementary and secondary levels.

  3. @First says:

    Totally understand and is in agreement with you.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  4. Seriously says:

    Our leader needs to really watch his weight especially considering the health risks around us. I’m not making fun just being genuinely concerned.

    Like 11
  5. Local girl says:

    I am saying this wth no water in my mouth, but children are coming out of high school here in the BVI and can barely read especially the boys, they can’t even spell or do basic math problems, however they want to hokd big money, our society is sick and no one wants to talk about it nor fix the problem, most people think that sweeping it under the the dirty rug it would just vanish one day.

    Like 17
    • Doh says:

      And then belongers wonder why so many expats are imported to work here…

      Having a literate, competent, and customer service oriented work force is critical in a service industry such as tourism.

  6. Pray for wisdom... says:

    Too much education “equal greed and corruption” seek common sense, and wisdom too much educated fools have this place and the world messed up… Seek more common sense and wisdom and rule the people in the way of righteousness….

    Like 2
    Dislike 8
    • @pray for wisdom says:

      You have a valid point in your comment.

      Also, people must realize that teachers cannot do everything for children. Parents have to encourage their children to read and practice their maths, spend less time on the games.

  7. Heckler says:

    A clown could see we are heading into oblivion with this gang

  8. YOUTH says:

    I find these post to be so ridiculous

  9. Clearly says:

    Everywhere in the world has these challenges in education but some of you think it is only in BVI. The government have a lot to do still but they have done a lot.

  10. Pity says:

    All of you who calling down the Virgin Islands and it’s people are opportunists, who think that by trampling on others will help to elevate themselves. I am not a Local but I must say that now I understand why the locals feel the need to protect themselves from us expats. One thing I notice the majority of Locals are ignoring the ignorance. Locals are kind people and expats know that no where else in the world would tolerate this kind of behaviour. So disrespectfull.

  11. E. Leonard says:

    For the long march towards self-determination whether it is independence or other forms, the VI needs a highly educated workforce/populace. The VI must commit itself to being a reading, learning and adapting nation/territory. It must strive to be at the top or near the top in education achievements similar to the achievement of another small locale——Singapore. The VI must strive for a critical mass of educated people that can effectively serve in any position from the premier down to a laborer in the territory. To get to this state, the VI must heavily and effectively invest in education from Pre-K through the tertiary level. Education must be a top priority on the deep bucket list.

    In the past, the VI may have underinvested pointedly and effectively to meet its needed human resource needs. This ineffective planning and investment have resulted in it having to recruit talent from overseas to serve in positions that Virgin Islanders should be able to fill. The VI must strive to be the best educated country/territory in the region with surplus talent. The VI has adopted the educational model used during the colonial period. As such, as it forges ahead in its growth and development, it needs to assess the current model and with the eye towards make adjustments as needed to modernize the system to meet the desired outcome.

    With a highly educated populace, the territory can developed a knowledge-based economy on the roads towards diversifying its economy. It should focus heavily on Science Technology Engineering Mathematics(STEM). Moreover, the VI should benchmark Singapore, a small (~270 square) resource-poor country, yet an Asian Tiger and an economic power house. Education was a key factor in its impressive economic growth. Singapore GDP per capita at independence in 1965 was approx $500; today, it is approx $64K.

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