Diverse and skilled workforce needed
Many years ago during the days of the Mid-Ocean News, I wrote an op-ed about the terms negentropic or entropic socioeconomic design. Of course, I have no claims on prophethood — some things are simple logic and can be deduced through science. Two complicated words but the meaning in a societal context is simply having the means to survive and grow or lacking the means to grow, hence dying.
During the 1980s, Bermuda was at the early stages of tremendous growth and from a general perspective, it looked as though the sky was the limit. Yet within the DNA of Bermuda's social and economic structure were faults, the elements of which could destroy that growth.
One essential element of all human societal growth is education. We should not limit our concept of education to be just that of formal institutions of learning. Experiential learning and mastering trades, industry and even arts add to the capabilities of individuals and society. Being involved directly in the marketplace, owning a business is in addition a very important and potent form of educational experience.
The march towards growth and success was very evident in the 1980s; however, equally as evident was that everyone was not participating in that growth. OK, everyone felt the effects of growth but the experiences were leading to two worlds with entirely different world views in many ways diametrically opposed to each other. Two different learning experiences that created by default different educational systems for the Bermuda society.
Where are we now 30 and 40 years on? Last week the Government announced it intended to close nine schools. Very interesting because, when we consider 70 years ago, this same parliament was calling for the creation of new elementary schools, voting for £74,000 to be set aside towards the establishment of several new elementary schools because the school population was outgrowing the capacity of the buildings to contain them.
Now, this situation is reversed, we are talking about eliminating middle schools and nine elementary schools — and not just one or two — with population growth in decline.
If one wants to measure the potential of any society, elementary-school enrolment is a good indicator. If this diagnosis of our economy and declining school population were a medical situation, they would be calling for CPR and ventilators because the patient is losing oxygen.
This situation resembling death or entropic design didn't just happen suddenly; it has been in the works for decades. One of the problems of primitive society was cannibalism. Cannibals just like to eat good meat; they will kill and eat what we may term as the prized cow. Bermuda's modern-day cannibalism comes in the form of destroying healthy, intelligent and useful persons for economic, racial and political dominance. This is not just white-on-black; it is black-on-black also — in all spheres.
We need empathetic leadership aside from the manifest education dilemma. People are feeling pain, the middle class is trembling. I am not one to blame the Government alone for the lack of energy in the marketplace. We are all part of the country and are all participants one way or another in creating our mess.
The new reality for Bermuda is, when we do turn this ship of fate towards a pattern of growth, negentropic Bermuda will look very different. We no longer have a sustainable population, yet we need a highly skilled work sector. Problem is, we need that worker population today, not 30 years from now, when we can naturally produce our own native population.
What do we do to turn the ship around? We need an industry that demands a diverse and skilled workforce. The idea must come first; the people will come automatically. There is little point tinkering with immigration without an idea. The country is dying, folks. No time for smiling faces.