Graduates preoccupied with finding a job on graduating from school, college or university, rather than creating their own job opportunities, have been told to rethink this ideology.
This call came today from Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he addressed the launch of the City of Bridgetown (COB) Credit Union’s Business Boot Camp, at its Corporate Centre, Lower Broad Street.
The initiative is being held in conjunction with the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. (BEF) and is an agricultural programme largely targeting students in secondary schools.
Pointing out that it was impossible for any government to provide job opportunities for every person seeking gainful employment, Minister Sutherland said: “A new focus is needed, one in which the minds of our youth must be rewired in favour of becoming successful entrepreneurs. This way, they can truly take charge of their occupational journeys and become true craftsmen of their fate.”
While stating a necessary prerequisite for this paradigm shift was the introduction of entrepreneurship as a curriculum fixture in our schools, he noted that CXC had developed a syllabus to guide the teaching of Entrepreneurship at CAPE but this course of study was, however, pursued by a few schools.
“Perhaps there’s the need to embark on a more extensive rollout among a greater number of schools in the near future,” the Minister suggested. He added that it was a view supported by the Global Entrepreneurship Forum in its 2017/2018 Global Report where it cited the absence of entrepreneurial education in schools as a major hindrance to entrepreneurial development worldwide.
Stressing that the teaching of entrepreneurship should be mandatory in secondary schools, he commended the BEF for recognizing the importance of including educational certification and training dimensions in its Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme.
Mr. Sutherland also drew to the attention of all present the recently-launched Trust Loan Fund and other Government initiatives, including the Rural Development Fund, the Livestock Development Fund and the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, designed to assist entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Principal of The Alleyne School, Julia Beckles, in acknowledging the call by the Minister, said the school, which was the first to have agricultural science as part of its curriculum, also added entrepreneurship as a compulsory course for sixth formers doing CAPE.
Registering her satisfaction with the BEF’s pilot programme last year, she said The Alleyne, which was hailed “Most Outstanding School”, enjoyed participating and was excited to be part of it again.
Chief Executive officer of the BEF, Celeste Foster, outlining the programme for 2018, assured Minister Sutherland that his focus on getting entrepreneurship in every school was indeed the goal of her organization. She added that the Foundation’s flagship $20 Challenge, an entrepreneurial venture, was ready to be rolled out in every school in Barbados.
Addressing this year’s registration for the COB/BEF Agricultural Programme, Ms. Foster noted 36 participants were registered for the initiative that runs from December 7, 2018, to March 2, 2019, and the schools involved were The Alleyne School, Coleridge & Parry, St. Leonard’s Boys’, Grantley Adams Memorial, Daryll Jordan and St. George Secondary.