Written on 1-Jul-2017 by Fidel A. Captain.
This paper was presented at the "First Diaspora Engagement Conference 2017" in Guyana on July 24, and is an adaptation of a previous paper I wrote titled, "Government of Guyana’s policy on post-secondary education as a tool for national economic and social development".
Developing nations need to broaden the knowledge base of their citizens if they are to survive and succeed in the new economy of the 21st century. Although Guyana has many natural resources that include gold, diamonds, bauxite, timber, rice and sugar, the human resource is one of the most vital in the 21st century and there must be robust post-secondary education policy regarding the development and use of the nation’s human capital for economic and social development. This paper describes how a robust and visionary post-secondary education policy can contribute to the economic and social development of Guyana in the knowledge based economy of the 21st century, and the role re-migrant post-secondary educator incentives can play in this development. It does so by first briefly describing the importance and role of government in creating post-secondary education policy, and then there is a discussion of the effect of the migration of educators on post-secondary education in Guyana. This is followed by a detailed analysis of what such a policy might look like within the context of the migration and re-migration of post-secondary educators, focusing on the objectives of such a policy, the environment within which this policy will operate, the boundaries and limits that would affect the policy, and ethical issues. A list of recommendations, which includes migrant and re-migrant post-secondary educator incentives, is then made that can form the framework of a post-secondary education policy that can be used as a tool for the economic and social development of Guyana.
Public policy on post-secondary education plays an important role in the long term strategic planning for the national development of any country because the most important resource of any nation is its people, and there must be robust post-secondary education policy regarding the developent and use of the nation’s human capital for economic and social development. This must be done within the context of the fact that Guyana is one of the poorest countries on in the Western Hemisphere with a high migration rate of its skilled citizens, specifically its qualified educators, and the need to attract these skilled workers to re-migrate and use their skills and knowledge to help to alleviate poverty, grow the middle class, and develop the nation’s human capital for economic and social development.
Many of our qualified educators have left for the Caribbean, North Ameirca, Europe and Africa where many have succesfully plied their trade, enhanced their skills and knowledge and helped in the development of these countries. According to The World Bank’s latest data, for the year 2000, the percentage of tertiary educated Guyanese that migrate is 89.2% (The World Bank, 2009), with an overall negative effect on the labour force and -17.9% effect on the proportion of skilled [labour] (Beine, Docquier and Rapoport, 2008, p. 647). While these numbers are distressing, the author believes that the additional skills and knowledge gained by these exptriate educators can be used to develop Guyana’s human capital, but should be done within the framework of an education for development policy. Specifically, a strong post-secondary education policy that stresses using post-secondary education as a tool for economic and social development with strong incentives for re-migrant post-secondary educators to support this development.
The author also believes that in addition to using education as a tool for economic and social development, a broad post-secondary education base is necessary in order survive and succeed in the new knowledge based economy of the 21st century. Mellow and Katopes (2009) stress that developing nations must educate more citizens to higher levels, espousing a greater number of citizens with mid-level intellectual skill sets, which they argue will lead to a larger middle class thus enabling citizens to move across income levels (p. 56). In addition, Chapman and Austin (2002) notes that governments recognize the need for their education system to produce citizens with the skills necessary to succeed in the new technological and information based economy (p.14).
This paper looks at the role government plays in creating and shaping post-secondary education policy and analyzes what post-secondary education for development policy for Guyana could look like within the context of attracting re-migrants to contribute to this development. It also briefly looks at the effect of migration on post-secondary education, and closes by making recommendations for a detailed post-secondary education policy that can be used as a tool for economic and social development in Guyana with an emphasis on using incentives to attract re-migrant post-secondary educators.
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