Secretary-General of the Commonwealth The Right Hon. Patricia Scotland QC has called for an overhaul of the current education system.
Addressing the annual Council for Education of the Commonwealth on Wednesday, her presentation was largely centered on the need to revamp the education system, to ensure that students are equipped with necessary problem solving, critical thinking skills and technical know-how to effectively use ICT in an ever-changing environment where the jobs of today can quickly become obsolete.
Ms. Scotland addressed Over 300 delegates locally and internationally, at the opening ceremony of the conference.
“Jobs for which millions of students are being trained technically for today, may be wiped out by the next wave of innovation. So students who are educated to think creatively will have a distinctive advantage. They will be equipped to master the new ideas and new areas of knowledge and would have truly portable, flexible, applicable skills for the future” she said.
The 2-day conference is being held at the Andrew Belford Hall under the theme “Students: Our Common Wealth – A Focus on Student Success.”
During the course of the conference, there will be various interactions from international representatives from throughout the commonwealth, on how educational institutions can ensure students get the most out of their studies.
At the end of the conference, it is expected that participants understand the dynamics at play, with regards to revamping the education system, to fit the future needs of the job market.
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said at present there exists a serious skills gap, as applicants are lacking the required technical proficiency and managerial skills needed for the current job market.
In order to address these skills gap, Ms. Scotland has recommended that student be exposed to the working environment earlier.
“In many of our member countries, employers report significant skills deficiencies, with application for jobs lacking the required technical proficiency and managerial skills. Education and learning requirement for good jobs and decent work are becoming far more complex. Through early work experience and apprenticeships, young people gain the skills and the experience that improve their employment prospects. So the sooner students are exposed to the workplace, the earlier they learn soft skills such as communication, resilience, dependability, skills that employers look for…”
Her Excellency Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade in her address to the participant echoed similar sentiments, as expressed by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
The conference is expected to feature distinguished plenary speakers, concurrent presentations, workshops, poster presentations, and opportunities for future collaborations.
It also includes distinguished conference attendees in the region and from around the world, including: Vice Chancellor Emeritus University of the West Indies Dr. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor University of the West of Scotland and Professor Kenneth Matengu, Vice Chancellor of University of Namibia.
The conference will conclude tomorrow Thursday.