Minister of Education, Ronald Jones and Office Administrator of Atlantis Seafoods Inc., Nathalie Lord,??presenting Clesita Moore, the 23 year-old BVTB student who won the hairdressing category with the Best Overall Competitor award.
(K. Bynoe/TVET Council)

Education Minister, Ronald Jones, does not subscribe to the artificial divide created by some people in society which attempts to laud academics over technical and vocational studies or vice versa.

The Minister was, at the time, addressing the closing ceremony of the inaugural Worldskills Barbados Competition, held last Friday evening at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic in Wildey.

Acknowledging that all educational pursuits were equally important to a society, Mr. Jones said: "All learning, to some extent, takes place within an academic environment because it engages first the cognitive nature of man. And, the divide is dangerous because it tends to perpetuate the notion that persons who are involved in technical and vocational studies, technical and vocational learning [and], the acquisition of technical and vocational skills somehow do not have cognitive structures".

Referring to this as "a false notion," he stressed: "…The world has been built on the combination of the employment of the cognitive skills, cognitive mind as well as the utilisation of technical and vocational skills."????

The Minister cited as an example China, noting that, like others, it had successfully combined the cognitive (mind, thoughts and ideas) with hands to develop products and services in the world today. "Therefore, we have to rid our mind that those who are involved in technical pursuits are somewhat inferior," stressed the former educator who pointed out that establishments such as the SJPP had been so constructed.????

He was, however, quick to point out that although persons in technical and vocational areas should be praised those with cognitive ability, such as writers and philosophers, should not be "knocked" or "shunted aside". "They, too, are part of the world and we need also deep philosophers," the former educator said, contending that to conceive of a world with simply persons who could build things would not be enough. And, he called for the harmonisation of all skills for the betterment of the economy and society.

The Minister praised competitors and winners for their various achievements, saying: "I hope the professionalism and enthusiasm which you have exhibited would propel you to even greater rewards in the future. Your rewards come from your commitment and dedication and hard work."

Students in the Worldskills Barbados Competition came from the SJPP, the Barbados Community College and the Barbados Vocational Training Board.

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