The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Address by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop
at MacDonald College Graduation Ceremony, 16 July 1982

Cde. Chairman,

Principal and Staff of MacDonald College,

Students,

Comrades all

In beginning let me express our sincere appreciation and thanks for your kind invitation to be here with you on this for us certainly important occasion.

We view this occasion and this opportunity to speak with you with great significance as yours, the MacDonald College, is a school shouldering a tremendous responsibility.

The MacDonald College serves a six mile radius from Victoria, St. Mark’s to Mt. Rich, St. Patrick’s.

Within this area falls approximately one-tenth of Grenada’s National Youth population.

Almost every family in this entire area has some contact, at some level with the school and derive some benefit from that contact.

This gives the school its concrete and high importance.

This places upon the school the noble task of providing secondary education for a substantial number of our young people.

Already it can boast amongst its alumni several persons occupying leading position in our national life and polity.

It is for this particular reason we consider being here of fundamental gravity.

The People’s Revolutionary Government salutes the fine work of the MacDonald College over the past 19 years.

In recognising your contribution to education in Grenada, a contribution made at a time when the British Colonialist and the neo-colonial Gairy dictatorship had neglected totally this vital area, leaving the buildings of schools, the provision of teachers, entirely up to missionaries and churches like the Presbyterian Church, we observe carefully and with pleasure that the student body and indeed all of MacDonald College constituted a strong element in our glorious struggle to rid our country of tyranny and dictatorship.

Even at gun point the management, staff and student body bravely resisted Gairy’s attempt to subvert the school.

History records that you were successful in the defence of the integrity of this college.

History notes also that hundreds of students of MacDonald College formed a dynamic and vocal part of the historic marches of our people in streets of St. George’s in 1974.

Thus, comrades we recognise the student body of this school as a tangible component of that indomitable force which pushes our country forward ever.

With that heritage comrades it is imperative that you the 55 students graduating here today continue as you move to assume greater responsibilities in society, to be a vibrant and resourceful part of our collective strength for development.

You will become workers and thus have the heavy task of developing our economy thrust upon you.

A workers responsibility is a very serious one as workers are indeed the most critical social force.

This force must be united and strong, for workers unity constitutes workers strength.

Just as you united a student body too as you join our labour force it is absolutely necessary that you quickly cement your links with other workers to defend and increase the rights and benefits our workers have won by virtue of their heroic stubbles over the years.

Of course the situation will pose many trials and tests for you.

The Revolution inherited an astronomical unemployment figure of 50%.

In three years that figure had been reduced to 27% and the recent unemployment census conducted by the Ministry of Planning revealed that some 7040 of our people are unemployed; they are actively looking for jobs and can’t find those jobs.

1019 of these live right here in St. Patrick’s and another 342 residents in St. Mark’s.

You must note carefully also that 63.96% of the unemployed are of your age group – between 16-25.

The prospects then are not very cheerful and demands your active involvement in the popular process of finding a solution to this burning problem.

Already we have started to tackle this problem in earnest.

A series of parish conferences on unemployment were held between May-June, 1982, culminating in a National Conference on June 28, 1982.

We know that various answers will emerge from these conferences.

However, the overall strategy will have to be increased production. Only by increasing production can we create more real job opportunities and get the economy moving.

This is precisely why our policy has always been to link education and production; this is why 1980 was declared the year of Education and Production; it is for this reason that a couple weeks ago in June, an Agricultural Farm School was opened in La Sagesse; it is for this reason that another farm school will be opened in the next academic year in Six Roads, Carriacou; this is why three new primary schools will be opened shortly in Bonaire, Corinth and Loretto; this is why under the theme “Education is Production too” a Conference on Education and Culture for Liberation in the Caribbean Basin will be held in November 1982 in Carriacou; this is why it gives us tremendous satisfaction to commend this college on having purchased a school farm ten years ago, on being the first site where Agricultural Science was started in Grenada for the GCE examinations; for being the first to put up students for this subject in the CXC examinations and for having instituted a clear work/study and agricultural programme.

Education certainly is production too!

To give concrete and practical meaning to this slogan it is necessary, comrades, to seek its application not only in the formal leaning institutions but also in our everyday life.

Surely illiteracy has been one factor impeding and thwarting the efforts of our people to increase and step up production.

Therefore, the task is to make all our people literate; those already directly involved in production must be educated.

Here you graduating students and others who will be remaining on must play a key role in the Centre for Popular Education – Adult Literacy Programme Phase II.

Already some 336 teachers and 2,000 pupils have signed up.

The four reading books which go with this Phase II have now arrived and the programme should be fully underway very soon.

It is now history that 1,000 teachers and 4,000 pupils were involved in Phase I.

Let us now look forward to Phase II and sign up as teachers or pupils to ensure we give practical meaning and concrete substance to the slogan education is production too.

Comrades, a while ago we were speaking of few jobs and too many people vying for them.

There is another area of insufficiency we must speak of here; this time it is a case of too few persons and too many offers.

Comrades, since, since our Revolution many of our young people have been able to take up scholarships abroad; today there are over 300 Grenadian students studying abroad in a wide variety of fields ranging from medicine to cooperatives.

We have reached a stage where the Ministry of Education has encountered extreme difficulty in finding persons suitably qualified to take up scholarships.

For instance, the U.S.S.R. has offered us 40 scholarships; the Ministry of Education could only accept 23 of these as it could not find the other 17 persons to take the scholarships; a happy but regrettable situation.

This tells us that our students need to apply and address themselves diligently to their study in order to leave school highly qualified and equipped to move to the university level.

The opportunities exist and they must not go a-begging.

In this contact permit me to suggest that the commendable initiative taken by the National Youth Organisation (N.Y.O.) and the National Students Council (N.S.C.) to launch an intensive study drive towards the end of each academic year can perhaps be more gainful and productive if it is undertaken much earlier, perhaps at the beginning of each calendar year.

The objective reasons for harder study are clearly manifest.

Through its National In-Service Teacher Education Programme (NISTEP), a 3 year programme designed to train the bulk of our primary school teachers, the Ministry of Education is also preparing to produce a better student.

Now 2/3 complete NISTEP will ensure that students arrive at the Secondary School level at a much more advanced cultural and academic level.

This will be particularly the case as the NISTEP training will improve next year as Grenada has obtained 4 scholarships funded by the Canadian agency Organisation for Cooperation in Overseas Development (OCOD).

These four teachers will be trained to teach science in primary schools as it is the intention of the Ministry to introduce the teaching of science in primary schools.

Thus, when primary school leavers reach the Secondary School Science for them (sic) won’t be a new or strange subject.

These initiatives we have taken in education because we long realised that if we are to liberate our country completely and finally we must transform the education for domination imposed upon us by colonialism into an education for liberation and production.

The educational system can’t be one which produces candidates for various levels in administration and commerce, non-productive spheres; it can’t be a system which creates a bottle neck between primary and secondary levels; it can’t be a system which is abstract, theoretical and verbalized, and separated from the real socio-economic life of the majority of people in the society.

Such a system is education for the domination of a few.

What Grenada and all oppressed and struggling peoples the world over need is an education for liberation and production.

The school and the community must be linked to enable teachers and students to engage in real life activities – cultural, political, economic, social.

This is the rationale for our Community School Day Programme (CSDP) which takes place on Thursday of every week.

It means the concrete and right linkage of theory and practice.

This is the process of education for liberation.

It must be advanced at the work place raising the consciousness of the workers and restructuring the workplace to serve the needs and interest of the whole of society not just of a few.

It means making the school a real and viable instrument of liberation by placing [it] full square in production. This is the system we are creating.

LONG LIVE THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION FOR LIBERATION!

LONG LIVE THE STUDENTS OF MACDONALD COLLEGE!

LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION!

FORWARD EVER!

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