Education key to success

By Hydar Ally
Guyana Chronicle
November 10, 1999

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo, in his recent visit to the Linden community, spoke of the importance of education in the process of national development. The President assured the nation that education will continue to be a priority of the new PPP/Civic administration and pledged to do everything possible to upgrade the quality of education to the children and young people of Guyana.

The importance of education to national development cannot be overemphasised. Education is regarded as the key to success both as an individual and at the level of the collective.

Education however, must not be seen in static terms. The nature, type and relevance of education must undergo changes if it is to adequately prepare people to cope with the challenges of change and development. Put in a different way, education is a dynamic process which must be functional to changes in the environment. This is particularly true in this knowledge-based economy where education is seen as the single most important determinant of change and development.

In this increasingly globalised world, education must have as one of its important goals the need to make individuals competitive in the job market. The harsh reality is that there is no guaranteed employment, be it in the public or in the private domain. This is why it is absolutely imperative for everyone to make the full use of education opportunities in order to be competitive in the job market.

It is not without significance that the President has seen it fit to highlight the importance of education in the Linden community which, over the past decades, has seen significant fluctuations in living conditions as dictated by the changing fortunes of the bauxite industry.

Education, if it is to be meaningful, must prepare individuals to meet and cope with the challenges of life. In other words, education must be functional to a person's existence. In the case of Linden, as in other parts of the country, there is a need to explore new ways of engaging our young people in useful activities which can enable them to make a living while at the same time making a contribution to the existing task of nation-building.

This is why it is important to emphasise education that fosters a greater sense of independence and creativity especially when it comes to income generation. There is need to promote in a much more aggressive way micro-enterprise education which would help to prepare potential school leavers to seek opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to generate income, rather than having to depend on some "benevolent" employer.

The truth is that we are gradually entering a new global dispensation in which the market is becoming increasingly biased in favour of employers. Labour will have to become increasingly competitive and adaptable if it is to succeed in its quest to maximise earning potential.

The introduction of modern and capital intensive technologies means greater productivity of capital and a corresponding decline in labour opportunities. This is especially true of advances in information and communication technology which can result in significant labour displacement and a shrinking of the job market.

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