The Power of Education

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart urged students to see education beyond the acquisition of certificates but as a means of empowering themselves.??(A. Miller/BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lamented that too many students are caught up with receiving a designation when they complete their studies, instead of seeing education as a means of empowering themselves through the acquisition of knowledge.

Mr. Stuart made the comments last Wednesday while delivering the feature address at the Barbados launch of the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013 – The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World – at UN House.

He expressed the view that some students were going to school, whether at the secondary or university levels, but leaving "uneducated" because of their obsessive preoccupation with getting a designation or certificates. [They are] "not seeing the absorption of knowledge and the internalisation of information as a way to equip them to better understand their environment and to establish meaningful relationships, not only with the environment, but with their fellow human beings.

"…We must not allow schooling to become confused with education. Education has an empowering dimension to it that connects people to the challenges posed by their environment and that allows them to face those challenges courageously and confidently because…of what they have the capacity to understand," he opined.

Mr. Stuart pointed out that the Report made reference to the vital role of a proactive state and he listed Barbados, other parts of the Caribbean, India, China, Brazil and South Africa, as being such. "It is a proactive state across the South that has accounted for a lot of the development…[and] growth that we have been witnessing in the South, a lot of the poverty reduction…and, therefore, we must not lose sight of the importance of a proactive state.

"The progress being made in the South is not an accident; it hasn’t happened by chance. Men had to analyse and evaluate the objective conditions in which human beings were living their lives and come to certain conclusions about the way forward and have the courage to make decisions that would produce the results about which we are able to boast today," he stated.

Alluding to the fact that Barbados was ranked number 38 out of 187 countries in this year’s Human Development Report, and number one for the Caribbean and Latin America, Mr. Stuart also stressed this was no accident. "That has resulted from the actions, the hindsight, the insight and the foresight of an interventionist state determined to ensure that decisions are made,[which are] intended to make the lives of people better," he underscored.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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