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Students from ECCU member countries take on economic growth debate


Over 230 students, aged 14 -19, from the eight member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), on February 28, engaged in a debate and discussion on economic growth and debt,{{more}} key issues related to the topics for the 2012 OECS Essay Competition, being hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

The event, which was held via videoconference, sought to heighten the students’ critical thinking and expose them to techniques for organizing their ideas and presenting strong, logical arguments in their essay writing. It also was designed to give students the opportunity to exchange ideas and increase their understanding of ECCU economic issues, challenges and opportunities and their role in national and regional development.

In presenting their arguments in favour of the topic: ‘A debt free society adds no value to the economy’, the students of the St Vincent Girls’ High School noted that if the projects for which debts were incurred did not increase the country’s productive capacity significantly, such debt would hinder rather than increase economic growth. On the other hand, the students of the Clare Hall Secondary School, Antigua and Barbuda were of the view that a country could not grow its economy without incurring debt and highlighted some of the infrastructural developments and positive spin-off effects that resulted from countries contracting debt.

The other debate topic was: Young people have a critical role to play in the growth and development of the OECS countries. The proponents, who represented the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School, Anguilla and the Gingerland Secondary School in St Kitts and Nevis, outlined some of the areas where young people can have a positive impact on the OECS economies. The opponents, the students of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School, Saint Lucia, strongly believed that young people did not possess the experience or the power to influence growth and developmental policies.

The OECS Essay Competition, which began in 2001, is part of the ECCB’s community outreach programme. The topics for the 2012 competition are:
  • What viable steps should OECS countries take to stimulate their economies and significantly reduce their national debts?
  •  Discuss the role of young people in shaping the future of the OECS countries.

The deadline for submitting the essays is March 30.