The Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) has come in for praise from this island’s Education Minister, Ronald Jones.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development,is toured through??the exhibition by Charmaine Seale, Audio-Visuals Aids Officer with the Media Resource Department at the Ministry of Education, yesterday at BMEX. (U.Gaskin/BGIS)??

Addressing the closing ceremony of BMEX 2012 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, yesterday, Mr. Jones commended the BMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Bobbi McKay, for the hard work put in by that organisation.

He noted that each year "wonderful work" was done in bringing out people to be part of the exhibition and showcasing "what they have been doing to help our country to continue to develop and to have products that they can use both locally and for export".

Acknowledging that it was also "good" to see schools working every year with the Media Resource Department of his Ministry and the BMA to be part of the exhibition, Mr. Jones said it was "the creative outflow of the talents of Barbadian people," including the young ones, that continued to be displayed.

He pointed out that while Barbados’ model of development did not carry with it the presence of large natural resources, the catalyst for the island’s growth and development had always been its human resources.

The Minister disclosed that shortly a book would be produced documenting the last 50 years of universal free secondary education, from January 4, 1962.???? He reminded those gathered that it was through the establishment of institutions such as the University of the West Indies, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College, that had led to the development of education in this country.

These institutions, Mr. Jones stressed, had developed "a particular core or centre of excellence, reflective of the inputs made by the taxpayers of Barbados" and had ensured the provision of education, regardless of colour, class or creed, where once individuals applied themselves, [they] could make the best of their circumstances.

The Minister, however, lamented the fact that not all people had utilised the opportunity and he urged the youth present not to miss out on these opportunities.?? As he lauded their creative talents, he said there was a future for them once they "continued to chart the given path".??

"Seek your own dreams…Ideas come from the mind-the cognitive structures and are expressed through the manipulation of hands and technologies which are part and parcel of our world…Essentially, whatever we produce, whatever we create, how innovative we are and whatever our entrepreneurial talents are, is as a result of us trying to make the lives of human beings better," the Education Minister stressed.

The youth also heard that Barbados could become as creative as China. "What they have on us is that they have become highly creative… Barbados is no different from China in its creativity and its talent. What is the dividing line is that China does not let one idea drop; China takes the idea as it comes and finds some way of making it a useful product.

"Maybe because of the size of its population and the need to feed, house, clothe, and equip its people that [makes] it maybe more adventurous but we have to be adventurous as well because if we are not then we are going to lag behind Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and China. ??We don’t need to do that because all around us there are so many good ideas coming to the fore…," Mr. Jones maintained.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the BMA, Bobbi McKay, in expressing pleasure at the students’ work, noted that the awards ceremony was a highlight of BMEX and disclosed that the organisers had taken a "good look" at this year’s projects with the intention of working closely with some schools.

Three schools came out on top. These included Erdiston Nursery School, Holy Innocents Primary and St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary.

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