This was partly the message from the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, to young people and their parents, many who are currently choosing universities or colleges to attend.
Douglas, during his weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister” warned students and parents that distance learning is now a global reality and they must ensure that these and on-site educational institutions are accredited.
He used the opportunity to speak to Kittitians and Nevisians who have always been on the straight-and-narrow, those who have always worked hard, tried their best, and, in general, made good use of their God-given talent.
“Thank you for sparing your parents, your teachers, and society, the stress and the anxiety that ensues when young people lose their way. I want to urge you to open wide your understanding of the countless ways in which your mind can be used constructively,” said Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister noted that scores of young people already know what they would like to study and others are not yet sure although they simply know that they are good students and are capable of handling the academic and other challenges that may come after high school.
“If you are unsure of the path you wish to take, do not worry. That is quite normal. What you must do, however, while you await your moment of certainty, is to continue to work, to read, to study, to apply yourself to the best of your ability today – and every day – so that when new opportunities arise tomorrow, or when your moment of certainty comes, you will be ready to step forward and take your place in the sun,” Prime Minister Douglas told listeners.
Pointing out that success does not always come in a straight line and there are obstacles, frustrations and delays, the St. Kitts and Nevis leader noted that the key in life, however, is to not allow these stumbling blocks to frustrate or break the spirit.
“You must believe in life’s possibilities and you must continue moving toward them with faith – no matter what. Remember: ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ And faith can move mountains. So persevere, hope, strive, regardless,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He noted that the internet makes educational options possible which just ten, twenty years ago were unheard of.
“I want to add a note of caution, however. And this applies whether one is planning to study beyond high school in-person or via distance learning. In either case you will be placing your hard-earned money in the pockets of one institution or another. Your parents will, very likely, have gone into a great deal of debt and hardship in order for you to do so. It is therefore extremely important that you get value for your money. It is extremely important that you get a quality and recognized education at the end of your hard work and your parent’s extreme sacrifice. It is essential, therefore, that you undertake thorough – and I mean thorough – research on any school to which you are considering sending your money either for an in-person or a distance-learning education because the fact that some entity calls itself a university does not mean that it actually is one,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
He told listeners to the programme that there are many so-called universities that are not even accredited.
“They will get your money but you will not get the type of education that you think you are getting, and that would be recognized and accepted by anyone who knows anything about education,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that within the body of accredited universities are major, powerful universities that persons have heard and countless small schools that one may never have heard of.
“What is important is not the size of the school, or whether you have heard the name before, or even whether you know people who have gone there, but whether it is an accredited institution of higher learning. And you must never take their word for it as to whether or not they are accredited. You must not take your friends’ word. You must not be fooled by slick commercials and dramatic internet or televised claims. Instead, you must check with the governing body in the country in which that school is based, and then you must double-check, to make certain that the school which will be demanding your money is capable of giving you the kind of education that you deserve. And the shocking reality is that some of these sham schools can be more expensive than accredited, legitimate universities,” warned Prime Minister Douglas.