Educate students in school

Unfortunately every graduating class has some
kids who fall into a void between leaving high school and getting a ‘real’ job.

They
don’t have the social or work skills that enable them to get a job, so they are
left to their own devices for survival.

The
Passport 2 Success is connecting some of those people with the real working
world and helping them get the training they need to be productive citizens in
the Cayman Islands.

We
do applaud the efforts and successes of the programme. And we applaud the
people who are taking advantage of the training in an effort to better
themselves.

But
formation of the programme itself begs the question of why it has to be there
in the first place, especially for recent school leavers.

We
are told that a common theme among all those participating in the programme is
that they need help with their oral and written skills. The Observer on Sunday
has to question why these recent students didn’t get those skills taught to
them in the public education system?

This
is not a new revelation.

Butterfield
Bank VP Conor O’Dea in the fall of 2005 made quite an astute observation on Day
2 of an education conference. “Presently, the educational achievement level of
most school leavers is inadequate for the needs of business and, without investment;
the labour force skill base may be obsolete by 2010,” he said back then.

Was
anyone at the conference listening to Mr. O’Dea? His words still ring true
today.

Employers
in the Cayman Islands can attest to the fact that they get job candidates who
have been through the public school system who can’t fill out a job
application.

We
are not painting the public education system with a broad brush here; there are
very many bright, talented and well educated students who graduate from the
system and who become productive citizens.

Our
concern is for those who fall into the void between leaving school and gaining
and keeping employment.

Thank
you to those who came up with the Passport 2 Success programme. It’s needed and
welcomed.

The
Observer on Sunday hopes that a good, hard and honest look is taken at our
government education system and that changes are made so that students coming
up through the system get promoted because they have mastered certain skills
and not just because they are a year older.

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