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Tech institute’s closure was tragic

Shut down: Bermuda Technical Institute

This letter was sent to The Guardian, a British newspaper, and was also copied to The Royal Gazette.

Dear Sir,

If the idea of re-creating Grammar schools in Britain is a serious move, then I implore the ministers involved to carefully heed the need to properly plan for the “non-academic” students to be given equal opportunity.

Brains come with differing capacities.

Many youngsters have become labelled dumb or “unteachable” yet have latent technical skills or other manual abilities.

“Even a surgeon uses his hands,” to quote a local speaker on the subject. Some years ago our own Bermuda Technical Institute was closed with ultimate tragic effects on our “non-academic” youth.

In its day it provided a wonderful venue for young men in particular, free of teenage distraction to learn skills in engineering, building, carpentry, electrical and more especially discipline, responsibility and respect.

Surprisingly, these avenues opened the way to realising the use and relevance of maths, science and physics as applied to their trade or calling.

I believe there was a similar move in the UK whereby many “technical colleges” were closed or amalgamated with other “uni-style” facilities? How they fared I can’t say.

Apprenticeships were similarly curtailed by many industries with comparable loss of valued workers for future needs.

In the closing paragraph of an article I wrote in the British AEC Magazine, I stated “in my opinion, the lack of any ‘structured training’ or apprenticeships is a detriment to progress for many endeavours”.

So, ministers, please pay very close attention to the whole picture, not just the supposed “elite”.