Student Centre gets boost
BARBADOS MUST TAKE A FRESH LOOK at its strategy to tap into the growing international market of education.
It is the advice of managing director of the Student Centre Sheena Alleyne, who believes the island’s strength in tourism is a plank on which it can build a viable and competitive edutourism business. She is therefore advocating more attention be paid to this potentially lucrative area.
Following Alleyne’s success with the Student Centre, local business Innotech Monday signed on to her latest initiative, Study Caribbean, which focuses on the export of educational services provided by locally and regionally approved educational institutions in Barbados. It aims to promote Barbados as an international study destination.
Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Alleyne said while it was acknowledged that education was a key engine of economic growth, she felt “the commercial component of education is still not at the forefront of national dialogue”.
The Student Centre has been reporting success from tapping into the international student market providing industry advice and direction to people in pursuit of post-secondary education over the last five years of the centre’s operation.
It is the kind of business which generates $24 billion annually for the United States economy and Alleyne noted there was an absence of a consistent presence of Caribbean countries and institutions actively competing for a piece of this pie, in spite of facilities such as the offshore American medical institutions operating in the region.
“We believe that Barbados is well positioned to develop a fully functioning edutourism sector,” Alleyne told an audience of stakeholders from the local education sector, business and training agencies.
She said Barbados possessed a “world-class higher education institution”, which could make the island “a force to be reckoned with in the international market”.
Chief executive officer of Innotech Martin Da Silva suggested Alleyne’s work would take education in Barbados “to a different level.”
“If we are to learn anything from the free education theory it must be that we are both well advised to embrace further advancement for the development of our people and the development of the investment that we have made to education.”
Da Silva said that just as the developed countries had turned international education into big business, Barbados should seek to reap some of the same benefits as it moved to become a destination for students from across the world seeking first class tertiary education.
The businessman appealed to others in the private sector to support ventures such as Study Caribbean. (GC)