JM | Feb 1, 2023

Beckles bemoans woeful educational opportunities for Jamaican youth

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

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Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Sir Hilary Beckles. (Photo:

Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is expressing his discontent with Jamaican youth not getting the solid start in life they deserve.

“I continue to feel the pain of seeing the children, the working-class children of this nation, not getting the start in life that they are entitled to,” he said.

Sir Hilary, who was speaking at a Vocational Service Awards luncheon held by the Rotary Club of St Andrew on Tuesday (January 31), noted that his greatest wish is to see Jamaica’s children given the opportunity to access education similar to its Caribbean neighbour Barbados.

“I wish that every Jamaican child would have an environment to grow, to be invested in as social citizens, even as individuals because I know that Jamaicans are among the most energetic, creative, imaginative people and we see it every day, but we need a chance for our children to actualise that mythology,” Beckles noted.

In his eyes, the lack of opportunities for the nation’s youth is a matter of national emergency and will require a strategic approach to tackle the issue from the early childhood level up to the secondary level.

“This in my view is a matter of national emergency, it is not a matter to be kindled with its national emergency that is how I see it from the perspective of where I sit,” he said.

He further expressed that there is a need for an education revolution to tackle the disproportionate allocation of resources in the country’s education sector.

General Accident Help Desk Technician, Omaro Taylor coaches students of Drews Avenue Primary School in Kingston through an Hour of Code session on December 8, 2022 (Photo: Contributed).

“We need to have top priority given to the values of nurturing, caring and trying to make our society more sophisticated, how we relate to each other, justice and while we all want to promote economic growth and economic development, we have to balance that with justice, with equality, fairness and moral conduct,” he said.

According to him, while Jamaica is aiming to pursue economic growth and economic development there must be a balance of justice, equality and fairness.

Sir Hilary contended that it will require a collective effort from Jamaicans in the process of nation-building to make the society elegant, just and free.


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