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Tuesday, May 23, 2006 

Linking youth with excellence

Web Posted - Tue May 23 2006

By Patricia Thangaraj

Excellence can be associated with youth more than any other description, according to evidence from the Youth Affairs Division in the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports.

This was also reflected in the general society, as for every young person leaving court on criminal charges, there are 50 more leaving the U.W.I., BCC and the S.J.P.P. with a degree, diploma or certificate in their hands, said Anthony Wood, Minister of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports.

He added that when you look at the world of work, you would find four employed persons for every person that is not employed in the 15-24 age group. The much criticised boys on the block are also making a positive impact, as many of these persons have joined Project Oasis; and recently, several of them assisted in the production of a video on CSME.

This video is currently being requested by many across the region to be used as an educational tool and one must ask oneself how much talent, hidden in our youth can be revealed if only they can get the right support and encouragement.

Wood acknowledged that many challenges still lay ahead in terms of youth development, but said that the more the media and the public tended to focus on the negative, instead of accentuating the positive, the more likely it was for those who strove for excellence to be discouraged and estrange those outside the mainstream of society.

Speaking at the third annual Youth Congress on Saturday, Wood praised the Barbados Workers' Union for their idea of launching the Annual Youth Congress. This year, the theme is "Youth Striving for Excellence," which he felt would encourage the youth to move forward in a positive direction and help them to reach their fullest potential.

The National Youth Awards launched last year by his Ministry under the theme 'Life, Achievement, Youth' includes: the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Personal Service, the Ficus Award for Community Service, the Conrad Hunte Award for Sports, the Colin Hudson Award for Science and Technology, the Bambusa Award for Entrepreneurship, the Hope Award for Secondary School Groups and the Challenge Award for the Differently-abled. Nomination forms for these awards would soon be available.

Aside from these two initiatives, the National Youth Service is also aimed at encouraging youths to strive for excellence. The Ministry is also working on a 'national consultation' to produce a 'universal programme of national service, which will promote the ideals of citizenship, responsibility, and service to the community,' where the youth would participate in community service initiatives during a two-year period.

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