Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams. (FP)

Our institutions must not only be concerned with producing graduates for the workforce but graduates who are driven to seek practical solutions to the problems that are affecting our society.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, stressed this point during his address at the opening ceremony of the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training’s Sixth International Conference on Higher Education, held at the Hilton Barbados Resort on Sunday.

Mr. Abrahams stated that education was a viable solution to the many problems currently confronting Barbados. He noted that Barbados was the leader in the use of solar energy years ago and it was time that students honed their studies in areas such as making efficient use of our solar, wind and oceanic resources. Such research efforts, he suggested, could assist in helping Barbados reach its goal of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“It makes no sense for the UWI and institutions of higher learning to churn out graduates when these graduates can’t contribute … help us to advance our social programmes and our developmental gains,” he insisted.

The Minister of Energy and Water Resources urged those present to utilize the educational institutions to move quickly to develop a culture of practical research that would lead to the creation of persons who would, among other things, investigate green energy alternatives and alternative medicines from local plants.

It was also mentioned that a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach could underpin the coming wave of national development thrusts. “We are all stronger as collective collaborators and furthermore, I am of the view that educational practitioners must see themselves as pivotal to fostering national development in these tough economic times,” he said.

Referencing the theme for the conference: Modern Education and Economic Stimulation: Innovation, Praxis and Sustainability, Minister Abrahams said it was imperative that as a tropical developing state Barbados must now more than ever before, look at implementing innovative and sustainable measures in renewable energy, especially since Barbados had “the raw ingredients” to build out the sector.

Over the next three days, the Sixth International Conference on Higher Education will see over 40 educators present on issues including: pedagogy, nursing education, males at risk, the financing of education, STEM and STEAM.

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