Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, engaging students of the Christ Church Foundation School??at the Speech Day and Prize-Giving Ceremony. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Students need to appreciate the value of education and to take full advantage of its benefits.

This was underscored by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he addressed the Speech Day and Prize-Giving Ceremony of his alma mater, the Christ Church Foundation School, yesterday at the school.

Mr. Stuart told those in attendance that: "Education should always be in the nature of a stimulant; it should never be allowed to become an intoxicant. When education is a stimulant the tendency is to approach issues with an open mind; when it is an intoxicant, however, the tendency is to approach issues with an open mouth!"

The Prime Minister challenged students not to be complacent in their attitude to their studies, but to appreciate that education was the door to success. "Your education can help you to understand the world better only if you are prepared to spend time reading and thinking.?? I still contend that one of the most impactful sentences I was ever asked to translate in a Latin class was one that said: "If thou wilt become wiser, read

many books." I not only translated the sentence correctly, but I took and internalised the advice it gave me.

"Every time you learn a new word or grasp a new idea the world becomes a simpler place. As the English lawyer and essayist Francis Bacon said: "Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man". Or as the Irish essayist and dramatist Richard Steele put it: "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

The Prime Minister further noted that inspite of the many obstacles nations faced, be they World Wars or other adversities, if they had a "high level of education, a high level of organisation and a high level of discipline", it was customary for an "economic miracle [to] emerge."

Mr. Stuart identified three key elements – education, organisation and discipline, as being critical to the developmental thrust of any nation. He said: "If your education helps you to understand the world better, if it gives you that sense of participation, you are better placed to establish a link between education and problem solving, and, in the result, to better appreciate what would further promote your own, and your nation’s development. And by the latter, I mean no more than helping Barbados to reach the stage where it has both the capacity and the flexibility to satisfy the economic and social aspirations of all of its people."

Linking the relationship between education and development, the Prime Minister referred to remarks made by Ernst Schumacher at the first Sir Winston Scott Lecture at the Central Bank of Barbados, saying, "development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, their organisation and their discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped potential".

In conclusion, Mr. Stuart stressed that if a sound and rounded education was to be achieved, the school and the home must continue to work together, understanding and appreciating the role of the other.


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