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Fri 12th Feb 2021

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SVG needs its own university of SVG in St. Vincent

It is vital to the future of our country and our people that SVG has its own Science and Technology University that is based in St. Vincent. This is necessary to stop generational poverty and to lift our country into prosperity with a strong economy. Presently, the economy in SVG is virtually dead.

The main route to a university education for young people in SVG is to go abroad, either to Taiwan or Jamaica. But these routes to university education are hopeless for most people as the living expenses are so high. Only the rich can afford this. Poorer families have had to withdraw their children from universities abroad or just not send them, as it is too expensive.

Young people in SVG need a university in SVG, so that they can become university graduates. In most western countries, 50% to 75% of young people graduate from university. In SVG, only about 2% of young people graduate from university and this is a shockingly low number.

To achieve 50% to 75% of young people in SVG graduating from university we need our own university in St. Vincent. With a university in St. Vincent, young Vincentians would not have to worry about living expenses, because they could live at home or with relatives. Also, with a university in SVG, young people would get the support of their family and that would cut down the dropout rate.

Given the opportunity of studying in Taiwan and being away from your family and alone for three years or the choice of studying in SVG and being able to see your family is a big difference. We must consider the mental wellbeing of students when offering university opportunities.

Having a university in SVG would provide the ability for our country to scale-up the number of university graduates each year to 50% to 75% of young people, just like most modern wealthy countries. The education system in SVG is backward under the ULP regime.

If each year 50% to 75% of our young people became university graduates that would boost the ability for us to have a modern economy driven by knowledge-based sectors. By adopting the Singapore or Swiss development model for our medium and long term economic development, we can create thousands of new, highly-paid jobs for our young generation.

It is very short-sighted, and more importantly not cost effective, just to beg for a few places at university around the world like the ULP regime does. The young people of SVG will be the future of SVG and it is important that they are given all the resources they need to reach their full potential, so they can be great leaders and problem solvers.

Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal, who has a BSc (Hons) degree in Accounting and Finance and Economics from Oxford Brookes University, England, an MSc degree in Macro-Economics Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from the University of Bradford, England, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Leicester, England, is making a very strong call for the education strategy of Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland to be urgently adopted in SVG.

We need high-quality education from pre-school to our own University of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The ULP regime’s education revolution has been a failure for the younger generation.

An Education For All report shows that education generates productivity gains that fuel economic growth. The EFA report shows that for every US$1 spent on education, between US$10 and US$15 would be generated in economic growth.

Countries with high-quality education and a high number of university graduates attract high volumes of foreign investment, Therefore, it makes very good strategic sense to drive an economy by very high-quality education and knowledge-based sectors.

Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA strongly recommends that we give a very high priority towards the construction of a top class university in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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