Grad­u­a­tion: Go forth!

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - OPINION -

The sea­son of grad­u­a­tion is on for some of our ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions. An­nual grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies have been tak­ing place and stu­dents of all ages and de­ter­mi­na­tion set out to “go forth” pre­pared to pro­vide for them­selves and their fam­i­lies — or so it is hoped. The grad­u­ates were cel­e­brat­ing their achieve­ments and the in­ten­tion to head out into the world on a jour­ney towards be­com­ing mem­bers of a bet­ter to­mor­row. Uptown, down­town, ur­ban or ru­ral, a new gen­er­a­tion of our young peo­ple have be­come ab­sorbed in get­ting ed­u­ca­tion and be­ing fully equipped to find a place in a new world.

The other evening one could see young Ja­maicans pour­ing out and away from the grounds of the in­sti­tu­tions where they have been to­tally oc­cu­pied with re­defin­ing them­selves for suc­cess — many of their par­ents could only dream of such an ex­pe­ri­ence. On­look­ers seemed to be won­der­ing how did the par­ents, or­di­nary men and women, feel now, after the sac­ri­fice of pro­vid­ing their off­spring with the op­por­tu­nity of higher ed­u­ca­tion? Op­ti­mistic though we may be, we still don’t know what lies ahead, al­though ev­ery­body has strong hopes that their fu­ture will be bright.

We have not moved far from the time when few if any par­ents or grand­par­ents had an op­por­tu­nity of en­ter­ing the class­rooms of higher learn­ing. Things have changed and there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, but the path is still a rough one. Par­ents of yes­ter­day and to­day will tell you that they have had to do what our an­ces­tors did: “Stand pon crooked and cut straight,” in an ef­fort to give our chil­dren the best. Many par­ents have bor­rowed, begged or sold what they have to en­sure a bet­ter re­sult for their chil­dren.

Mom and dad are right to revel in the pride on grad­u­a­tion. They will, no doubt, al­ways re­mem­ber the joy which was brought to the en­tire fam­ily as their son or daugh­ter made their way across the plat­form. For the par­ents who worked their fin­gers to the bone to raise their child it must be an hon­our to hear the thun­der­ous ap­plause from their col­leagues and the guests who have come out for the spe­cial oc­ca­sion. There are young peo­ple, too, who have fought to put them­selves through col­lege, and they must be ex­tremely proud of what they have done.

Ques­tion of the year: What is the new gen­er­a­tion driv­ing towards?

Be it uptown or coun­try vil­lage, how do the mem­bers of the ‘new gen­er­a­tion’ en­sure that they are ready to com­pete with the best of the best. Col­lege days do not last for­ever and ever more. The real world awaits. Some of the new gen­er­a­tion mil­len­ni­als are con­vinced that this is their time and they will go for it. “Don’t worry, par­ents, we’ll get there.”

There is, of course, the grow­ing trend of older mem­bers of the fam­ily en­rolling in higher ed­u­ca­tion. Grand­par­ents and par­ents have been known to walk the grad­u­a­tion stage too as they seek to im­prove them­selves and their fam­i­lies. And, why not? Ed­u­ca­tion is for all ages and stages; we must never miss the chance to ad­vance our­selves.

For those who have the dream for them­selves or their chil­dren, start plan­ning from now. Ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion is an ex­pen­sive thing, and it helps to plan ahead. Let us not go through the al­most an­nual rit­ual of weep­ing, wail­ing and gnash­ing of teeth when schools have to de-reg­is­ter stu­dents due to the non-pay­ment of fees.

Schol­ar­ships and bur­saries are out there for those who go look­ing and ask­ing for them. We are thankful to the many cor­po­rate en­ti­ties which of­fer mil­lions to those who are in need of fi­nan­cial sup­port for their ed­u­ca­tional dreams. We must do what we can to se­cure the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of this coun­try.

Ev­ery­one wants a chance to shine. Grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies have been known to take place in ba­sic school, where teach­ers and par­ents are con­vinced that four- and five-yearold pupils have a right to cel­e­brate aca­demic achieve­ments. A friend of mine joked that her grand­daugh­ter had grad­u­ated from nurs­ery school on re­ceiv­ing a de­gree in por­ridge eat­ing and colour­ing. An­other friend said that she saw kinder­garten grad­u­a­tions as a sign of how much we, as a peo­ple, value ed­u­ca­tion; that every step on the lad­der of learn­ing is im­por­tant and should be en­cour­aged.

Con­grats, Dr Amiel Con­grat­u­la­tions to Dr Keith Amiel, hon­orary grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Ja­maica, who has been recog­nised for his con­tri­bu­tion to the devel­op­ment of the agri-busi­ness sec­tor in Ja­maica. Dr Amiel is widely re­spected through­out the Caribbean for his ex­em­plary ac­com­plish­ments and the im­pact he has made in the live­stock in­dus­try. He is also the chair­man of the Tivoli Gar­dens High School board of man­age­ment and deputy chair of the Lit­tle The­atre Move­ment. Nuff re­speck, Sir!

Bar­bara Gloudon is a jour­nal­ist, play­wright and com­men­ta­tor. Send com­ments to the Ob­server or gloudonb@gmail.com.

(Utech Cor­po­rate Comm)

Mem­bers of the Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Ja­maica Grad­u­at­ing Class of 2018 cel­e­brate with their de­grees.

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