A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Friday between the Department of Environment and the University of the West Indies Life Long Learning Unit.
The MOU awards thirty scholarships to those who are already enrolled at the school for professional courses
Paula Lee, the Executive Director of the Life Long Learning Unit says the agreement is testimony that business partnerships are essential to expanding knowledge across populations.
“Having engaged in numerous conversations with prospective learners, I recognized that many dreams, aspirations, and desires to participate in lifelong learning were abandoned primarily due to limited financial resources. The fullest potential of these men and women would not have been realized and individuals might have settled into a rhythm of dissatisfaction and non-fulfillment – if these scholarships from the DOE were not available,” she said.
Lee said the lack of access to continuous learning results in diverse and far-reaching consequences for families, communities, and organizations.
“The workplace of the future will feature robot workers, intelligent assistants, and automated tasks – a far cry from the fax machines, paper documents, and Rolodexes of decades past. Individuals who neither completed primary nor secondary school university graduates, aspiring professionals, seasoned professionals, and other members of society – will need to stay abreast with the pace of change and prepare for jobs that do not as yet exist,” she added.
Lee believes it is the responsibility of governments, educational institutions, the private sector, and citizens to prioritize their learning pathways.
“To boost lifelong learning, continuous education, and reskilling, the Ministry of Education in Singapore launched two new statutory boards SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). The former works closely with educational institutions and training bodies to strengthen adult training infrastructure, while the latter seeks to promote development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability,” she added.
According to Lee, in Antigua and Barbuda, the public and private sector must combine their resources to ensure that citizens of this nation have access to continuous training to gain knowledge, enhance skills, earn credentials and advance their careers.
“Residents of Her Majesty’s Prison, the sole penal institution in Antigua and Barbuda are also beneficiaries of the DOE scholarships. According to reports, upon leaving prison a large percentage of inmates have limited employment skills, minimal family support, and inadequate financial resources. A more robust focus on rehabilitation can lead to improved employability skills and reduced levels of anxiety for individuals upon their reintegration into society. Learning never exhausts the mind, the brain will always have a capacity for learning that never exceeds its limits. In 2022, 14 courses were offered. Given the enthusiasm for continuous learning, in 2023, our catalog will feature 23 courses, each at a cost of ECD$675.00,” she added.
The organization hopes to quadruple the number of scholarships offered in 2022 from 30 in 2022 and 120 in 2023.