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Caribbean & World

Former Prime Ministers Tillman and Hines Join new Caribbean Peace Coalition

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Caribbean & World

A Letter to Parents: International Education and Your Child’s Success

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Op-Ed by Ambassador Linda Taglialatela, US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS

As we celebrate International Education Week, I would like to highlight the many benefits an international education has to offer.

Through increasingly globalised classrooms and international exchange, students experience new perspectives, work with diverse peers, and communicate across cultures and languages. In a 2017 survey by the Institute of International Education, 78% of respondents said that their previous study abroad experience helped them get their current job.

American and Caribbean students both enjoy opportunities at each country’s campuses. Last June, I joined a group of six Americans from Indiana University who attended the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill campus to discuss advanced theories of global human resource management with their Barbadian counterparts. For the past two years, these two universities have jointly organised this summer course to share best practices and increase mutual understanding.

Often, international alumni are the catalysts for these types of initiatives. Prime Minister of Grenada Dr The Right Honorable Keith Mitchell, who received a Masters degree from Howard University and a Doctorate from American University, also taught mathematics as a professor at Howard. Dr Cardinal Warde, a Barbadian who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1980s and now teaches there, has set up Computer Coding Workshops in the Caribbean to inspire young people to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). They are but a few examples of an international alumni network that ties our countries together.

Parents across the region should consider the opportunities that international education offers. Studying abroad in the United States is well worth the investment for your children. Fourteen of the top 20 best universities in the world are in the United States, with more than 4,700 accredited schools in all. More than one million international students from around the world study in the United States each year. They pursue four-year degrees, two-year degrees, or complete short-term programmes.

Students feel at home in the United States. Two of the cities with the largest Caribbean diaspora are New York and Miami, and many educational institutions in and around those cities host Caribbean students. However, I am equally excited to hear about students’ experiences in Oklahoma or Montana, for example, and the stories they tell of their schools, communities, and representing their country in an environment that is sometimes less familiar with their culture.

American universities work closely with the private sector to adapt their curriculum to the needs of a modern economy and provide the most advanced and practical preparation for opportunities in a global world. US institutions also partner with civil society organisations and the public sector to prepare graduates for onward placement. The networks go further, into academia in and outside the United States, multiplying the number of avenues available to the newly graduated international student.

Finally, and not least important, the United States and our Caribbean partners share a commitment to an education system that respects and encourages independent thought. On any US campus, a student can choose from hundreds of activities, from sports teams, debate groups, and dance troupes to diverse political and religious associations. They can engage in frank and honest dialogue. Both inside and outside the classroom, students can challenge and be challenged without concern of government persecution, interference, or censorship.

Studying in the United States is an incredible opportunity that will open doors and unlock your child’s potential. If you are interested, talk to our EducationUSA advisors. These dedicated individuals help parents and students across the region search for the perfect university to match their interests and work to identify scholarship opportunities – all for free!

If you would like to make an appointment, please email BridgetownIRC@state.gov, and visit bb.usembassy.gov. There’s a good chance the advisor is located at your public library or community college. I encourage you to pay them a visit.

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NDC Heartbeat: Every Grenadian child must have a chance

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The NDC under Franka Bernardine’s leadership will focus on developing our people’s academic and technical education.

It is an accepted fact that Franka Bernardine was one of the best performing ministers under the Tillman Thomas NDC administration of 2008 to 2012. Then, Bernardine served as Minister of Education and the new and innovative policies rolled out under her stewardship is a lasting legacy of that period. It is no surprise therefore, that people development through education and training will be the thrust of the new leadership of the NDC.

Our NDC leadership team is committed to making educational opportunities for all our children, boys and girls, a priority. The NDC is committed to rebuilding and enhancing the school books programme that the current administration has dismantled and politicised. Educating the nation should never be a matter of politics.

Grenada has the highest poverty rate in the Eastern Caribbean. One of the main reasons for this is that we lag too far behind the rest of the Caribbean in too many areas of training and education. It is critical for any government to invest in education. During her inaugural address, NDC Political Leader, Franka Bernardine, forcefully made the point that we can’t develop a country without developing your people. Furthermore, she correctly stated that we can only improve our economy by upgrading and improving the skills of our people.

The NDC will move training our people to the higher level so that they can aspire to much more than low end, low paying jobs. The NDC is very clear in its knowledge that we are a talented and capable people. That is why we must train our people sufficiently so that when we attract world-class investors, we will have a world-class workforce right here on island. This vision for our people is not too ambitious at all, because we have proven repeatedly and in a wide range of areas and disciplines that the best in the world comes from right here in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. That’s why we are determined that every Grenadian deserves a fair chance.

Training should be multi-faceted and across all the sectors. So that in addition to enhancing the school books programme, The NDC believes that any caring government serious about developing our people, will also focus on technical training. We say that technical training must be introduced at the primary level so that the special talents and capacities of our young people can be captured and nurtured from an early age. Our young people who are naturally inclined to technical and vocational skills should not be lost in an overly academic environment where their talents are not properly harnessed. The current government is performing woefully in this area. Only a change of government will fix this.

We must make better use of the skills of our returning nationals. We must have an open mind and give opportunities to every Grenadian regardless of their political leaning or social and economic background. Education helps to break the poverty cycle. Breaking the poverty cycle is now a critical need because, among other things, Grenada has the highest poverty rate in the Caribbean outside of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

When the scholarship desk was established under the guidance of Sister Franka Bernardine as Minister of Education, it was envisaged as a professional and unbiased agency, without political influence. Based on the way this current government operates, it is impossible for this desk to be run in the way that it was intended. Many young Grenadians who are not aligned to or supportive of this government are forced to curb their right to freedom of association, speech and conscience, in order to obtain a scholarship. The NDC finds it abhorrent that our people are subjected to such political abuse.

The National Training Agency, which was also established under the guidance of Bernardine as Minister of Education, has not been developed in the way it was intended. An NDC government will give all the technical and financial support that agency needs to realise its fullest potential and mandate. Enhancement of technical training must be emphasised and enhanced at all levels.

The NDC is committed to delivering the UWI campus or in any event, a second university campus in rural Grenada. This is one way in which we can take our country to the next level of development.

We in the NDC are not surprised by this government’s failure to pursue a robust education policy. A highly trained, informed and well-developed population will be detrimental to the tactics they use to survive.

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New MacAndrew Scholarship connects students to the National Development Plan

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The ability of Grenada’s top scholars to access tertiary-level education and contribute to the island’s national development has now been enhanced with the establishment of the MacAndrew Scholarship.

The programme is a collaboration between the Sandals Foundation and the St George’s University and was made possible due to the kind donation of United Kingdom Physicist, Alec MacAndrew. The scholarship targets persons seeking to pursue undergraduate studies in Marine Biology or Tourism and Hospitality Management or a post-graduate diploma in the Education programme.

Career educators Antoinette Lewis (nee Perry) and Samantha Antoine-Purcell have been selected as the first recipients and are currently pursuing post-graduate degrees in Education.

Antoinette Lewis – 2019 MacAndrew Scholarship Recipient

Associate Dean of Admissions at St George’s University, Colin Dowe, says the scholarship not only seeks out students of superior academic calibre but emphasises areas of study which will help recipients strikeout and impact Grenada’s development. “The MacAndrew Scholarships are designed to foster Grenada’s development by investing in building the human resource capacity in key areas critical to national development. The programme ensures that Grenada benefits from a highly-skilled workforce and academia to help the country reach its 2035 goals and beyond.”

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation noted that the alignment of the scholarship programme to national development goals is a strategic step to ensuring Grenada’s development plan is advanced. “The Sandals Foundation is always happy to partner with programmes that directly invest in the development of the countries in which we operate. As Grenada sets out to create a sound environment and ecology, empower its people to develop quality public sector services and to create globally competitive industries, the MacAndrew Scholarship turns the spotlight on those industries that will help achieve those goals.”

Samantha Antoine Purcell – 2019 MacAndrew Scholarship Recipient

The MacAndrew scholarship adds to the Care for Kids Scholarship operated across the region by the Sandals Foundation. Additionally, it complements the need-based Grenadian Partnership Agreement (GPA) bursary already offered by St George’s University. Recipients are determined by the MacAndrew Scholarship Committee and are based primarily on academic excellence and the student’s commitment to the chosen discipline.

Sandals Foundation

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