JIS News

Education Minister, Andrew Holness, is urging tertiary students to maximise opportunities as the Government’s investment in tertiary education is a trade off, which has a ripple effect on the entire education system.
“I am trying to bring to you the challenges we are facing and the trade offs we make and how critical those trade offs are, so you have benefitted from a tertiary level education…19 times more than what we spend on a child at the early childhood or primary level… having gotten that benefit, remember that 19 other persons didn’t get it,” the Education Minister informed.
He was addressing an awards ceremony put on by the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies yesterday (Jan. 22).
The Education Minister further explained that in the education system, there are always trade off decisions to be made by leaders.
“At the end of the day you have to make a decision as to who gets what, how, when, where. Sometimes the trade off is very stark, sometimes it is not easily seen, but you are always faced with a trade off and in making that trade off you are determining equity in your social system.bearing in mind who will be affected, how will they be affected and can they be compensated for the effect of the trade off,” he contended.
“It is an awesome decision for the persons who are making the decisions and so it is for tertiary education, it’s a trade off,” he added, while highlighting the statistics to indicate the challenges of the trade off.
“There is about 60,000 persons registered in a tertiary type institution in Jamaica. It amounts to about 7.8 per cent of the total enrolment in education but we spend somewhere in the region of about $14 or $15 billion on that sector.we have 113,000 persons in the Early Childhood cohort and we spend about $2.4 billion and at the primary level we have about 200,000 students registered and we spend about $14 billion, similarly at the secondary level,” Minister Holness informed.
Continuing, he reminded the students that “the country has made the investment not just in you, but the generations that you will spawn because your children will more than likely get a chance to get tertiary education as well and get access to a better income, a better lifestyle, [as] clearly education is the key, education is the vehicle for social mobility, self improvement.”
“The challenge we face is how do we give the key to every single Jamaican or should we continue on a path where only a selected amount of Jamaicans get the key,” he asserted.
However, Minister Holness pointed out that Jamaica and the Caribbean have benefitted significantly from the investments in tertiary education through our “technical experts, leaders, business people, thinkers, philosophers and poets that have defined us in the world.”
According to Mr. Holness, investments in the development of such people were absolutely necessary “even if it meant that we are spending a disproportionate amount of our education budget on tertiary education”.
The awards ceremony was hosted to recognise the outstanding academic performance of students during the 2007-2008 academic year.

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