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(CMC) – A senior Barbados government minister has told regional institutions must that they not only be concerned with producing graduates for the workforce but those who are driven to seek practical solutions to the Caribbean’s problems.
Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams told delegates to the sixth International Conference on Higher Education said that education was a viable solution to the many problems currently confronting his own country.
The four-day international conference is aimed at showcasing the emerging local, regional and international research that can enhance policy and practice at all levels in education.
Abrahams, who met with the delegates Monday, said that while Barbados was the leader in the use of solar energy years ago, it was time that students honed their studies in areas such as making efficient use of our solar, wind and oceanic resources.
He said that such research efforts could assist in helping Barbados reach its goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
“It makes no sense for the UWI (University of the West Indies) and institutions of higher learning to churn out graduates when these graduates can’t contribute … help us to advance our social programmes and our developmental gains,” he told the conference that is being held under the theme “Modern Education and Economic Stimulation: Innovation, Praxis and Sustainability”.
Abrahams told the delegates that they should seek to utilize the educational institutions to move quickly to develop a culture of practical research that would lead to the creation of persons who would, among other things, investigate green energy alternatives and alternative medicines from local plants.
“We are all stronger as collective collaborators and furthermore, I am of the view that educational practitioners must see themselves as pivotal to fostering national development in these tough economic times,” he said.
Abrahams said it was imperative that as a tropical developing state Barbados must now more than ever before, look at implementing innovative and sustainable measures in renewable energy, especially since Barbados had “the raw ingredients” to build out the sector.
The conference here is being coordinated by the Higher Education Development Unit under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training.
The organisers said that agenda will consist of practical interaction that will provide research-based and practical strategies that address emerging best practices across the education landscape; varying viewpoints by multiple presenters on specific issues; panel discussions, interaction and dialogue among delegates which demonstrate practical applications from solutions-based research; and the opportunity for graduate students and student teachers to share in a dynamic learning environment.