Stu­dent Cen­tre gets boost

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Education -

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.

Ab­sence

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)

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