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Fri 30th Dec 2016

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Mr Ivan O’Neal calls for a billion dollar investment in education a year from 2017 onwards

Mr Ivan O’Neal BSc (Hons) MSc, MBA, is making a strong call for a billion dollar investment in education a year in SVG from 2017 onwards. Free, high-quality education, from pre-school to university, for all regardless of the economic status of a child’s family, is needed in SVG immediately to lift our people out of poverty.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), education is crucial to poverty eradication. No country has succeeded if it has not educated its people. Not only is education important in reducing poverty, it is also the path to wealth creation. Education can lift a poor child out of poverty for life.

The Leader of SVG Green Party, Mr Ivan O’Neal, says that SVG can acquire about 2 billion dollars a year in revenue overnight, by taking back our fish licence from Taiwan and setting up our own tuna fishing and canning industry. We could then invest 1 billion dollars a year in providing our children with world-class, high-quality education from pre-school to university, free of charge.

Mr Ivan O’Neal has a very strong passion for high-quality education and knows that, if our children get a good education, then they will have opportunities for highly-paid jobs all their life. All of Mr Ivan O’Neal’s children went to university; his youngest child is a doctor.

Mr Ivan O’Neal has seven grandchildren and the oldest four have been to university: Natasha, 27, graduating with a Masters in Engineering from Cambridge University, England; Emma, 27, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from Nottingham University, England; Yasmin, 25, graduating with a BA (Hons) in English from Bristol University, England; and Jessica, 21, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Industrial Economics from Nottingham University, England.

With a university degree, the opportunities of employment are immense. SVG’s children could get highly-paid jobs throughout the world, if we provided them with good education and our own SVG university. Generational poverty can be eliminated if a child gets a university degree, as children of graduate parents are more likely to become graduates themselves.

It is no surprise then, that the richest and more industrial countries in the world have highly educated populations. They place a great emphasis on university education. In Finland, for example, 80 percent of women are enrolled at a higher education institution. Finnish women also make up over 60 percent of all university graduates and postgraduates in the country.

Since independence, successive governments in SVG have failed the children of our country. Generational poverty has plagued our country for all 37 years of independence, causing misery and subjecting a large part of our population to suffer in squalor.

We have the resources to implement a billion dollar investment a year in high-quality education throughout SVG. We must use the fish money and build a world-class, high-quality education system, from pre-school to university for all our children.

UNESCO calls for poor countries to educate their people. US President Barack Obama’s advice to CARICOM leaders in April 2015 was to educate their people, because ‘if they had a highly-educated workforce they will attract a lot of foreign investment’.

We must heed that advice and invest a billion dollars a year in education, so that our children are university educated. Our children deserve prosperity and a high standard of living.

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