Young people in Barbados have been told they live in a world that has changed, bringing them many unknowns and opportunities which they should seize.
This was expressed by Education Minister, Ronald Jones, as he addressed secondary students at the annual Edunation Forum at Queen’s Park Steel Shed.
Noting that today’s youngsters are brighter, Mr. Jones said: “Today, we’ve seen our young people with quality grades…. I have seen the scholarship winners in larger numbers over time; I’ve seen young people who applied for National Development Scholarships and when you have a conversation with them it is mind blowing; it is mindboggling…. We test their minds to see how they are thinking, how national development means something to them and I am proud of what I see.”
He told the students that there was an intrinsic brightness in all of them and they ought not to settle for the lowest grade in their CSEC and CAPE examinations when they could seek something higher.
“Try for the best that you can be and that you can do. The opportunity is there; grasp these opportunities with every fibre of your being…. Give principals and teachers in our schools the opportunity to help form and shape your thinking, to give you that purpose in life to be way better than you think you are.
“The vision for the future is not only about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] or the arts; … You know what Barbados needs as well, people of good character, and once that is in place anything else will flow. That’s what we need,” Mr. Jones remarked.
Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dr. Roderick Rudder, in welcoming the students who were on the panel, relayed that several secondary students had benefited from training specifically designed to prepare them for various leadership roles in their respective schools and beyond.
“On this occasion, we believe that these young people should be given the opportunity to showcase their skills, their talents and their ability to articulate what they see as Barbados in another 50 years,” he added.
The Edunation Forum formed part of the activities to mark Education Month 2016 under the theme: Education 50 and Beyond. It placed particular emphasis on student leadership in keeping with the tenets of the Schools’ Positive Behavioural Management Programme, and sought to provide young people with the opportunity to share their vision for Barbados.