Jenita Clarke was named one of the most outstanding students in the Maritime Operations programme. Here she accepts her certificate from Retired Registrar of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), Julie Martindale.

learn another language

Graduates of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) have been encouraged to expose themselves to another language as it can mean a bridge to new opportunities.

Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Glenroy Cumberbatch, offered this advice on Saturday evening as he delivered the feature address to the 2017 Graduation and Awards Ceremony, held under the theme “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”.

Noting the need to communicate effectively in diverse environments, he explained: “It is important that you expose yourself to more languages if you want to be able to communicate your ideas beyond the shores of the English-speaking community.

“The United Kingdom has recently put £10 million into a programme to introduce Mandarin in every pre-school in the UK…If the United Kingdom is trying to learn Mandarin, imagine what we should be trying to do in moving our languages forward,” Cumberbatch stated.

Working together important
Collaboration, he said, is also very important. “There is a lot of individualism in learning. But we don’t solve problems as individuals very well and its takes a long time for an individual to arrive at what a group can arrive at if we put our heads together. So collaboration is extremely important – you must demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams. People may not think like you, they may not act like you, but they have something to offer.”

The Registrar told the gathering at SJPI’s Wildey, St Michael Auditorium that persons are leaving institutions with the learning and innovation skills – creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration, but not in the numbers that are required for the economies of their countries.

In fact, he pointed out that a small percentage of people exit schools and do well. “Thirty per cent in most cases do well,” he revealed.

“Every year a little over 30 000 persons leave school in the Caribbean with five passes at CXC/CSEC level, but at the same time there is a large number – just under 30 000 who leave without a pass at all. So yes there are some people who do well, but our economies and the economies of this century, require all of school-leavers, all the institute’s leavers, all of the university graduates to possess and demonstrate the skills if we are to move our country forward.”

Cumberbatch further stressed the need to engage new strategies to include those who are not graduating with the learning and innovation skills. “The strategies must include, while not limited to, encouraging curiosity; knowing what the learners’ needs are; matching our instruction to what the learners want to learn; and using innovative way to know what learners know, what the learners can do and what the learners understand – all assessment cannot be done or should not be done by pen and paper…

“What should the SJPI do? Let us dream for full employment of all graduates by 2020. That all graduates who leave this institution will have full employment by 2020. Whether they are employed or employers, entrepreneurs, whatever process they follow, that persons who leave this institution are so skilled and prepared that they will be in the workforce in some form or the other contributing to the social and economic development of the country,” he added.

Valedictorian Sherwyn Xavier, Graduand of the Diploma in Plumbing, urged fellow graduates to always put their best foot forward.

“If you are going to do something, do it well,” he stressed.

“The attitude of doing things just because you have to is a very bad one. It is a bad representation of the company that you are employed with and it is doubled if you are self-employed. After all, your level of workmanship reflects your ability to work. Regardless of the job at hand, whether it be an electrician, nail technician or an accountant; take pride in your craft and produce the best work that you can possibly produce so that you can be proud of your work”.

Xavier also took the opportunity to thank the Barbados Defence Force and Barbados Coast Guard for assisting his homeland Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria. (TL)

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