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Ja’s workforce


T IS a known fact that investing in education is perhaps one of

the best decisions any government can make. When we invest

in our youth’s education, we invest in the future generation of

leaders, advocates, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and developers.

As a developing nation, education is critical to development. If

we are to succeed in laying the foundation for change and

development, we must invest more in access to quality education

for all.

As former president of Harvard University, Derek Bok, puts it: “If

you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Inadequate

education produces high costs for society in terms of public

spending, crime, health, and economic growth. No country can

afford to leave its children behind and not help them achieve the

competencies needed for a self-fulfilled life and economic


It is no secret that technological advancements are changing

the way we communicate, the way we work, and the type of work

available. Automation and robotics are replacing several human

tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are

looking for in their people. As a result, there is a tremendous

increase in organisational challenges related to human resource

and training.

To plan for the future, we must ensure that we properly prepare

the youths, equipping them with the expertise and skills that will

enable them to adapt to the rapid global changes taking place in

all fields of development and knowledge.

According to the World Economic Forum’s report on the future

of jobs, the top seven skills for the job market in 2020 will be

complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people

management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, and

judgment and decision making.

We must recognise that the three critical areas of quality

education include:

Foundational literacies – how students apply core skills to

everyday tasks. Some of these basic skills include literacy,

numeracy, information and communication technology literacy,

and scientific, cultural, and civic literacy.

Competences – how students approach complex challenges.

This includes the soft skills such as critical thinking and problem

solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

Character qualities – how students approach their changing

environment. This includes honing curiosity and persistence in our

youths, leadership, social and cultural awareness, and the ability

to take initiative.

On this basis, our industry association is pleased with the

Government of Jamaica’s approach in restructuring the

matriculation examination from the primary- to the secondary-



, 6

Inderia Adjudah,



officer at UWI