JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says access to education should be seen as an inalienable right as opposed to something which is considered reserved for only a special few.
Mr. Holness, who was giving the keynote address at the Edu/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Conference at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Montego Bay, St. James, on December 8, added that not only is such a notion prejudicial, but it is also one that is outdated and has no place in society.
“Education is not for the elites. It pains my heart to hear people arguing against making education freely accessible. We are still very much wedded to an elitist model of education where only some must get it. Education is for all, and education does not mean exclusively academics,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
Mr. Holness said it is important that the country understands that his Administration is embarking on a road where education is a top priority and will be expanded to ensure access for all, regardless of status.
“A day will come in this country when someone will have a degree in auto mechanics and be considered on equal status with someone with a degree in law. That is the objective of this Administration,” he said.
He pointed out that regardless of how menial something looks, a special skill set is now required, which should be both encouraged and appreciated in order to move forward as a nation.
Mr. Holness said the provision of an occupational degree is an expansion and a diversification of the education offering, noting that “not everybody wants to do law anyway”.
He added that a contribution in any discipline, whether in auto mechanics or in landscaping “adds equal value to the quality of life of this society”.
“If you really want excellence, then let us set up the systems of accreditation and competence evaluation so that everybody can have a stream to their own fulfilment,” the Prime Minister said.
“We need occupational degrees in tourism. There are real opportunities that are there, which we need to capitalise on,” he added.
CAPTION: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, addresses the Edu/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Conference, held at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Montego Bay, St. James, on December 8.