Where are our thinkers?
Education Minister Ronald Jones believes the region’s people should desist from practising self-doubt as they confront economic challenges and their impact
Jones has further urgied administrators and educators of higher learning to refrain from this way of thinking.
The Minister made the plea yesterday as he addressed the official opening of the 13th Annual International Conference of the Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administrators (ACHEA) in the Roy Marshall Teaching Complex of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.
“Don’t let us have the self-doubt which says to us that we cannot make good out of what we have. We in the region are in fact persons with great ingenuity . . . We should not be into self-doubt as we confront the challenges as they impact on education.
“What it is saying to us is that we have to work harder; we have to think more; we have to collaboratively pull everything together to see how we can traverse these difficult arenas that we face at this time. It is not about surrendering or raising the hand,” he said, while noting that the Caribbean had for years been able to impact the world.
Acknowledging that it called for more productivity and creativity despite recessionary measures that include lack of salary increases and challenges in our personal lives, the Minister, who is also responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation, contended that people should redouble their creative ability and their God-given talents to ensure the Caribbean survived the difficulties.
He also maintained that there should be greater clarity of mind and the interests of people should not be limited to their own country, whether Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago.
“They should not be interested in their own little space . . . but take a wider, regional view of how we, working together, can make our institutions stronger; our institutions of learning which stand in the vanguard of whatever we have to achieve in this region – all of our institutions of learning, not only our higher educational institutions but secondary and primary,” said Jones.
Caribbean people, he noted, must be part of the fullest development of Guyana, with its massive land resource that could reduce hunger.
“Where are our thinkers, where are our brains? Where are our people who have been able to before do things that boggle the minds even now? Where is the ingenuity? Where is the talent?” It is not just about the money but the willingness of people to recommit.
“It is about people forgetting partisan divide [and about] fighting over nothing” he said.
The three-day conference runs from July 10 to 12, at the UWI. A key aim is to promote high professional and ethical standards as well as the continued development of management capacity in higher education in the Caribbean. It also seeks to provide opportunities for effective networking and collaboration among those with interests in education.