‘Application of knowledge key to succeeding in global economy’ – Pres. Medgar Evers College
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, April 5, 2018
The challenges faced by academic institutions to prepare students for the world of work and society was addressed by Dr. Rudolph Crew, President of Medgar Evers College at the Vice-Chancellor’s Eighth Renaissance Lecture.
The lecture was held at the University of Guyana (UG), Turkeyen Campus under the theme “Bridging the divide in tertiary education between developing and developed countries”.
According to Dr. Crew, one of the crucial factors that will help in bridging that divide is academic adequacy.
The competitive playing field today, according to Dr. Crew, differs vastly from what prevailed before. He noted that the simply having an education and being functionally literate is insufficient for today’s global economy. “It is too narrow a road just simply thinking about a person having a high school diploma or a college diploma is too narrow a road it is insufficient” he emphasised.
Dr. Crew further added that while many persons have been groomed on the idea that acquiring a degree from a tertiary institution is a necessary requirement, “now we live in an era in which the industrialised world wants you to have something that may be more akin to a certification, not necessarily just a degree. Maybe there has to be some learning that was pre-learned before you even got your degree and we will call that for lack of a better word, an internship.”
He pointed to the fact that the present tertiary education system that allows for the accumulation of several degrees has to be changed. He said students have to be given a connection to the next phase of their lives as part of their formal training. This he stressed is a necessary requirement since the economic world now requires persons to demonstrate their capacity for high wage-earning jobs.
“You have got to have young people who in the third grade are carrying forward for every grade that they spend in school. They are growing by one year, every single year that they spend in school, they are growing in their ability to read, to write and to do mathematical computation.”
That growth, he noted, must be recognised by virtue of applying the skills in the context of the curriculum, rather than by testing. “It is not just having the knowledge, it is applying the knowledge.”
Another important element that students need, according to Dr. Crew, is personal adequacy. Students, he said, must be equipped with the necessary tools that will not make them susceptible to the idea they are being ripped off by society. They must be so prepared “that they do not surrender in the face of failure, that they do not give up, that they have resilience, that they understand that an F in a class is not an F for your personhood.”
He noted that it is crucial that tertiary education be able to provide students with the necessary tools to enter the world of work.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Renaissance Lectures is an ongoing series which is aimed at facilitating discussions on strengthening the core pillars of academic enhancement, capital investment, and economic viability. It is also a medium for enhancing the educational entrepreneurship of the University of Guyana (UG) overall and of its constituent units.
The series of lectures, Turkeyen and Tain Talks 12, continue today at the Pegasus Hotel at 18:00 hours under the theme “Race, Reality and Reconciliation in Guyana”.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite