Submitted by Looking Glass
Development in any language means change, a break with the past and is people oriented. National Development of which economic development is but a component is personal and qualitative. It depends on our ability to innovate, create and organize and requires an intellectual leap into the future. Resistance to such change is not so much a personal problem but a structural impediment created by the socio-economic system in general and the educational system in particular. In this context our educational system in its current manifestation becomes a repressive developmental factor.
In today’s world the foundation of economic growth and development is the function of human skill not foreign investment. In the world of technology fortunes are made not only in the manufacture off products but by inventing products and processes. Important factors include education and innovation. National development implies the power to create wealth which, in the final analysis depends on our ability to generate new ideas and to turn them into reality.
Here education is crucial. East Asian countries invested huge sums in education designed to facilitate economic growth and industrialisation; their forte product improvement and product creation. The Ivory Coast, a backward country at independence is today a wealthy country. Large sums were invested in education and agriculture rather than industrialisation, and government ensured the implementation and nurturing of programmes needed for development.
The education system as it stands will not supply the range of human resource requirements necessary to support long term development. It generates a supply of souls lacking in versatility, adaptability and entrepreneurial expertise. As such it contributes to the formation of an unproductive/underproductive class of labour, a source of marginalization and a burden to the already strained economy. The prevailing system breeds inefficiency and ineffectiveness which in turn kills innovation and creativity.
I am not suggesting the absence of talent. Potential talent needs to be nurtured and directed. Our Secondary Schools as currently structured promote memorization rather than innovation and creativity. Science should be taught at all such schools along with business, agricultural related subjects and our history.
The Community Colleges and Polytechnics should be reorganized to offer a broader range of technical, para-professional and agricultural related programs like Hydroponics. Each can specialize and share and or utilize the other resources for maximum efficiency.
A Research Centre/Institute to expose students to new ideas and experiment, to innovation, experimentation and to create and generate their ideas, and a BusinessCollege along similar lines. Imagine the consequences of having a university
Graduate (basically lawyers and social scientists) in every household in an economy unable to accommodate them. Some changes are needed at Cave Hill to accommodate the above. How about Agriculture and Hydroponics. Our development must be long term and designed to increase substantially our capacity to create a more desirable life. As such it becomes a challenge to our intellectual ability to generate ideas and putt them into practice.
Barbados was built on sugar. The economy even in the early 19th century was unable to absorb the labour force which continues to grow, especially the “educated.” Over the years many of the hundreds who migrated to North America and the UK supported their family back home now find it more difficult to do. Some no longer do it, and the out-migration door is now largely closed. Land, sea and sun are the only natural resources we have. Teach our kids and adults to use our natural resources especially the land. You can grow tea, coffee and food items some of which can be turned into products like coconut water and milk. Otherwise the population increase will push the country deeper in the hole. Tourism and foreign investment cannot and will not do that for you