JIS News

Education, Youth and Culture Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson has stressed that in the Caribbean’s ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable development, emphasis has to be placed on fostering quality education and capacity building that would redound to the benefit of the region’s youth.
In order for Caribbean nations to achieve these goals, she said, “we must focus on the character of the Caribbean we strive to fashion and anchor those instruments that we develop within philosophies, strategies and approaches that are intensely and definitively Caribbean.”
The Minister, who was speaking recently at the opening ceremony of the 36th meeting of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) held at the Hilton Hotel, explained that the meeting represented an opportunity for Council members to engage in critical reflection and strategic planning.
The meeting was being held in Jamaica again after an absence of some 10 years. According to Mrs. Henry Wilson, the Council emerged in 1972 at a time when the region was experiencing regional integration and pride against the backdrop of the foundation of the University of the West Indies, national airlines, and a regional cricket team.
The Council, she said, was viewed “as an institution over which we as Caribbean people were called on to preside and ensure its sustainable development and legitimacy”.
On the matter of the immediate future, she told the gathering that the Caribbean region was at a critical moment in its history where transformative decisions had to be made in the interest of its people.
“We are at a crossroads in our regional development process where we need to come to terms with the realities affecting our young people. We have to be prepared to provide them with hope and optimism in the face of frustration and growing despair,” the Minister advised.
She added that it was equally important to build the self-confidence and discipline of the young “through the development of syllabi, and examination systems, which will offer them greater scope for social and cultural enterprise, and for economic advancement”. The Education Minister said all forms of Caribbean creativity should be recognised and rewarded.”From sound engineering to pan tuning, to dancehall and other performance concepts, to the creation and invention of software, to establishment and nurturing of small and medium sized enterprises, to professional codes of behaviour to ‘Caribbeaness’. through our programmes we must encourage and promote networking, relationships, partnerships, conviviality and harmony,” she stated.
By creating such a unified environment, Mrs. Henry Wilson said, “this will ultimately assist in the development of the social capital we need and the promotion of better social and economic health”.

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