Media Release – How can the Caribbean better deal with change and continue to develop? That depends on the investment made in its people, and their ability to innovate in sectors as diverse as education, health, youth entrepreneurship and youth justice based on comments experts gathered for a CEO Breakfast in Grenada hosted by OECS, USAID and UNICEF and headlined by Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
“The education system needs to be the foundation for social resilience,” said the Honorable Prime Minister Mitchell.
“Throughout the OECS, we do not invest enough of our GDP in education.” He added that math and science knowledge is fundamental to innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
“Until we reinforce that, over and over, we will have significant shortcomings in our ability to innovate.”
Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General, OECS, called for an integrated approach to redefine education in the context of our current historical reality. This, he argued, calls for“…balancing educational foundations with Twenty-First Century competencies and an emphasis on the holistic development of the individual and including social skills, attitudes and competencies”.
As much as discussions focused on digital literacy, health systems, transforming youth justice initiatives, and attracting private sector development, experts agreed that problems defy individual attempts at common solutions and need additional help.
USAID/Eastern and Southern Caribbean Regional Representative Clinton D. White’s development model is changing.
“We need to look for better ways to bring private sector financing and their support.”
Another common theme across the discussion was mindset focused on problem-solving as a pre-requisite for innovation to occur: a wedding on a beach led one entrepreneur to establish a business based on destination weddings. A lost health record led another to launch a software business. Another led to a business employing kids described as former “dropouts” from secondary school in a rural area to establish a business cultivating and marketing mushrooms grown in solar-powered containers.
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