Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Students must take advantage of their opportunities

Prime Minister of Grenada,
The Rt. Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell.

“Don’t play with this!”

That was the serious message given to the many students who attended the US Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) College Fair, recently in Barbados, by the Rt. Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, as he presented remarks at the event.

“So colleagues don’t play with this! If you play with your education, you are playing with your entire future; if you get it right then, the future is extremely rosy,” he noted.

Mitchell, who was an alumnus of both the University of the West Indies (UWI) as well as the HBCU at Howard University in the US, stressed the importance of education and encouraged the students to think seriously about where they wanted to explore their tertiary education.

“I think it’s a big plus for those of you who are seriously looking at going abroad for some form of academic training, knowing of course that our regional institutions are in fact providing top-class education, have done so over the years and continue to do so. The fact is that most of the present Caribbean leaders have in fact been students of the UWI,” he noted.

Continuing, he noted that HBCUs also provided many benefits to Caribbean students as well.
“Their educational history and success at producing top students around America, making tremendous contributions in all serious areas of life in the United States and other countries, are clearly one fundamental reason that you must look seriously at those institutions.

“The educational support services and opportunities are, in fact, quite enormous, and I am a good example of the lengths and breadths of the educational diversity one receives,” he told the students.

Speaking to the students, he shared his own experience at going to one of the prestigious HBCUs and noted that one of the most important things for him at the time was not only the academics, but also being able to interact with students from all over the world as well, and learning more and more about their culture and correcting any misinformation he may have had about their way of life.

Stating that it was very important to have that opportunity to interact with others, he pointed out that we were now living in what he termed ‘a global village’, which he noted meant that one’s success would depend more on the ‘quality of services that you provide’.

“The competition is not just Barbados, the competition is not just Grenada. Barbados now has to compete with the rest of the world if we hope to survive, and clearly, there is no question that the fundamental platform to ensure that we can reach there is Information and Communication Technology,” he noted.

To the students who ranged from secondary schools to some tertiary educational institutions, he urged them to broaden their horizons on issues that not only related to their own country, but also in the wider world community.

Calling for a stronger correlation and relationship between the colleges in the United States and the citizenry in the Caribbean, he explained that in this ‘knowledge society’, education was not only key, but it was also power, and appealed to the students not to waste any opportunities that came their way.

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