Sir Hilary not pleased with youth enrolment levels in higher education
Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is not at all pleased with the levels of enrolment of Caribbean youth in higher education.
In fact, in comparing it to other countries in the hemisphere, he called the situation “disturbing”.
“Of the young people between the ages 18 to 30 in our entire hemisphere, from Alaska to Argentina, we in the English-speaking Caribbean, have the lowest enrolment in higher education. In other words, we in the English-speaking Caribbean are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to access to higher education in this entire hemisphere. This is very disturbing indeed,” he stated.
Addressing the Matriculation Ceremony on Friday evening at the Cave Hill Campus, he pointed out for example that those societies, which harassed the ability to transform themselves were those with high enrolment in professional training and skills development.
“These are the economies that are able to achieve sustainable growth. These are the societies that push for justice and equality for all. These are the kind of societies that we are seeking to build, but not enough of you are enrolled in higher education in this sub-region,” he added.
Admitting that higher education was an expense, he urged persons nevertheless to not only see it as that but as an investment to improve the country. “Only countries with high investments in higher education actually achieve growth and development. If you want to be a failed state, do not invest in the next generation of young people in respect to higher education. I think the government of Barbados has chosen an enlightened path and we celebrate Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for what she has done,” he stressed.
Sir Hilary then gave the new students their first assignment – encouraging their siblings and other relatives to enrol in the university.