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A sound education essential for all

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Tue, Sept 28, 2010

Yesterday, Monday September 27, 2010, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College officially welcomed over 900 new full time students to the College in a matriculation ceremony.{{more}}

The over 900 students are divided among the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies, the Division of Technical and Vocational Education, the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Nursing Education.

The Director of the amalgamated college is Dr. Joel Warrican, a Vincentian educator who is on secondment from the education faculty of the University of the West Indies. He, his Deputy Director Nigel Scott and the other members of staff have been making great strides in terms of widening the scope of the role of the college in a small developing country such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

On Sunday, on a radio call in programme on Hitz FM, Dr. Warrican was one of the panellists discussing a topic which looked at youth and the future, paying special attention to education. Several points were made on that very interesting programme, one of which was the need for our young people to receive a sound academic education while in school, as opposed to training.

On that programme, Warrican said students at the Division of Technical and Vocation Education will now be exposed to more academic education, to make their matriculation into higher education easier. They will now be expected to do more courses in Math, English, Foreign Languages and Information Technology along with their core technical and vocational courses.

Very often, parents and business owners put pressure on educational institutions to “better prepare” students for the world of work, complaining that when the young people come out of school, they “can’t do anything”.

Warrican made the point, with which we agree, that the purpose of education is to train persons to think and to be creative, and to be able to absorb training and to apply knowledge. Education seeks to develop the whole man or woman for life, not just to do a particular job.

Warrican was of the view that businesses should shoulder more of the responsibility for training their employees, as if the attempt were made to train children for the work place too early, in many instances, by the time the child actually gets on the job, what they learned at school may have changed significantly, or the technology on which they were trained would be obsolete.

Advocates of more vocational training in school argue that in a small developing country like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, many of our people cannot afford the luxury of being educated just for the purpose of developing their intellect, when what they need are skills which would make them more immediately be able to contribute to the family purse.

This approach, in today’s world, will only limit the development of the individual and our country in the long run, and cannot work in today’s world where technology changes as rapidly as it does. Today, the market in which our services and products are sold is not only the Market Square in Kingstown, but the global market, for which ISO standards are prerequisites.

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