'Put the students in charge'

BY NEKIESHA REID Business reporter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012    

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THOSE born today may not be able to function as part of a developed economy as outlined in Vision 2030 — Jamaica's national development plan — according to Michael Witter.

The groundwork for education and empowerment would have to be laid now to produce the type of youth suited to such a society, said the senior research fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES).

One way in which youth can develop themselves and learn focus is by being responsible for various institutions.

Addressing the problem of youth development is critical to the island's productivity, he said, adding that young people being in charge at their schools and other institutions such as old-age homes can be a way for them to repay the subsidies given on education.

"There's no reason students can't run the University," he said at a public forum hosted by Jamaicans United for Sustainable Development (JUSD) at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, last month.

The forum — themed "An economic action plan for Jamaica — sought to address "issues of national importance" such as the nation's debt burden, while devising ways in which such issues might be resolved.

Led by financial analyst and radio talk show host Richard 'Dickie' Crawford, it was the latest in a series put on by the JUSD geared at providing the Government with suggestions on how the country's development could be achieved and maintained.

As such, Witter said paying more attention to the productivity of managers is a good way to increase the country's efficiency since most of the money spent on salaries in any company goes to management.

Financial analyst Dennis Chung saw different hurdles for the country. Government bureaucracy is one of the biggest hindrances to productivity because it slows businesses so much that they are not able to take advantage of opportunities.

The ongoing conflict between the security forces and members of the public is another hindrance to output, he said, since the more time people spend on the streets protesting, the less they produce.

Investing more in crime prevention and solving crime will decrease the crime rate and attract more investors, he said.

"If we're serious about solving the crime issue, we have to put money into technology, the justice system, and the hands of the police," he said.

Preventing praedial larceny, in particular, is important as it will save the country 10 to 20 per cent on its importation bill.





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