There is a call for the tertiary education sector within the region to focus more on research.
It has come from Acting Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Patrick Todd, at the Eighteenth Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions (ACTI).
Minister Todd observed that, “even though we have more academics within the region today, they have not delivered on the requisite supporting research the region is relying on them to deliver.”
He pointed out that regional research must be relevant and accessible. “What are you offering us to inform our decision making in the tourism, agriculture and the manufacturing sectors? How will your research assist us in dealing with the current threats to our financial services sector?” he questioned.
Stressing that education had become a billion dollar industry worldwide, Mr. Todd queried whether the region had become primarily consumers instead of producers. “We have one of the lowest per capita filings for international patents and copyrights…I challenge ACTI to raise the bar on this criterion,” he stated.
Minister Todd also highlighted the fact that for decades, the region has been an international benchmark for literacy as well as primary and secondary education. He, however, lamented that “our programmes in tertiary education have lagged significantly behind the rest of the world in developing new and innovative approaches to delivery, evaluation and assessment.
“Have we recognised the importance of being responsive to the changing needs of the private sector and industry, or have we viewed research and development as being outside the purview of academia? ACTI must embrace the challenge of our regional institutions, becoming more committed to partnerships that will confront these problems head on,” he underscored.