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Fri 12th Aug 2016

Education system failing SVG’s children

The ULP regime’s education system is failing SVG’s children. The ULP regime was boasting about 16 children going to university in Taiwan, but in context this is virtually nothing.

Every year, the intake of children that start primary school is about 2,300 children. Thirteen years later when each intake reaches school leaving age of 18 years, if only 16 of those 2,300 are going to university then that is a massive failure. That equates to 0.69% of that year’s intake going to university.

That is pitiful and a huge disaster.

In 2015, 31% of 18 year olds in England were accepted into a university place and 65.9% of people who graduated from high school in the USA went on to university.

More than 60% of high school graduates in China go on to university. In Iceland, 78% of women are getting degrees, in the Slovak Republic it's 77%. In Finland, 80% of young women are now going to university. It's currently the highest proportion of graduates in the world.

In comparison, with only 0.69% of a year’s intake going to university, SVG’s education system is abysmal. This is a real shame for the children of SVG. It condemns most children to a life of poverty and unemployment and takes away their opportunity to get highly paid jobs around the world.

It is no secret that university graduates earn much more than non-graduates. According to the UK newspaper, The Telegraph, jobseekers without a degree could earn up to EC$42,000 a year less than their graduate peers entering the job market – the equivalent of more than EC$1,750,000 over an average working life.

The Jobs website Adzuna, which analysed a million vacancies in June 2016, said there is a widening pay gap between graduates and non-graduates. SVG children that do not go to university are being deprived of access to highly paid jobs.

In the UK, the top five graduate degrees by pay are:

Civil engineering - EC$157,000
Engineering - EC$150,000
Computer science - EC$147,000
Mechanical engineering - EC$137,000
Mathematics - EC$136,000

These are jobs that SVG’s children are missing out on, because the ULP regime education system is appalling and failing young people.

In the UK, the unemployment rate among young grads is very low. In the USA, non-graduates are 6 times more likely to be unemployed. In SVG, the unemployment rate for non-graduates is about 50%.

The SVG Country Poverty Assessment Report 2007/2008, specifically states that to drive economic activity and reduce poverty, SVG needs to invest in upgrading all levels of the education system, with special regard to pre-school, post-secondary and tertiary level education.

However, education spending is very low under the ULP regime. In the SVG Budget 2016, Minister of SVG Finance, Gonsalves, provided EC$11.6 million to education, which is only 1.27% of the SVG Budget of EC$912.8 million. The UN calls for at least 20% of the national budget to be spent on education in poorer countries.

We must tax Taiwan and the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan to raise revenue to improve the SVG education system.

Having just 16 children of a 2,300 year intake – only 0.69% - going to university is shameful. The ULP regime education system is failing SVG’s children.

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