FOR many years now, unemployment has been a major issue for not only political parties promising to better people’s standard of living by creating a business-friendly environment – but also for those seeking work. However, there appears to be a double-speak when it comes to bringing potential employees up to speed with the real world of work.
For starters, the fact that the current school curriculum has been in dire need of a serious revamping for many years now, one would have thought that a phased and bold effort would be made towards teaching our children at schools – as well as at home – that nothing in life comes easy: that hard work must be in their DNA from early on.
That is not to say that labour laws regarding children should be breached. However, children must be taught that tokenism must not replace the passion and dignity of the prize that follow hard work. Take, for instance, a child wanting to excel at cricket. He or she must be taught that it takes a great deal of effort, time and passion to achieve such goals, as young and talented Kimani Melius, still a student, can attest to.
However, whenever the point is made that we need to prepare our people for the world of work, there is often the criticism that we need to rather focus on preparing them for the world. The truth of the matter, though, is that work does form a major part of our lives, even if we were born with silver spoons in our mouths. Throughout our lives, we will always find ourselves working assiduously towards achieving some goal or the other.
Globally, the workforce has never stopped going through changes, including adapting to new technologies, working longer hours and made to undergo requisite training that often seems draconian at first. But while some employees will complain that they are being made to put in more than they feel they should, others merit the challenges and the positive outcomes that allow them to test their mettle.
With finding employment still proving a challenging task for many Saint Lucians, the school curriculum must be reflective of a business-like environment where students learn the symbiotic relationship that exists between them learning to be not only excellent students but also future successful entrepreneurs. After all, Career Day must mean something, right?
Our students must also be taught the importance of proper time management, since this is one of the main problems affecting businesses who lose many hours of production due to high levels of lateness and absenteeism. Having the right attitude for the job must also become part of a student’s skills set, so that if he or she expresses interest in following a certain career path, he or she must know the qualifications and attitudes required.
Presently, there are many people who would say unequivocally that they would not kill themselves over no job – proverbially, of course. Conversely, there are people who literally cannot see themselves living in this world another day being jobless.
The local Chamber of Commerce has gone on record repeatedly expressing its concerns that the education system is not doing enough to teach students the skills they will need for the job market. While there are students whose competencies are off the charts, we must recognize that we are failing our children miserably when we force them to learn archaic modes of education that often end up in them being jobless and feeling as though they spent years of learning nothingness.