Jamaican students in Korea back Vision 2030
Jamaican students attending South Korean universities are divided on whether Jamaica will achieve the goals set out in the Vision 2030 national development plan that seeks to bring the country up to First-World standards in the next 12 years.
Vision 2030 Jamaica is a strategic road map to guide the country to achieve its goals of sustainable development and prosperity. The comprehensive vision of the national development plan is to make Jamaica the place of choice to "live, work, raise families and do business."
The students argued that not much was being done to prepare the country for such a leap and cast the blame on the crafters of the plan who, they believe, undervalued the contributions of youth in the deliberations to develop Vision 2030.
"To some extent, I do believe we can get there. I know I may sound like a scratched record, but I believe deeply that education plays a huge role in all of this. To be educated is not just being able to do mathematics at a certain age; it actually frames your mindset in how you view things happening around you," said Kyung Hee University student Antoinette Harris.
"I was talking with another Jamaican at my university the other day [arguing] that if the majority of the voters were educated to a certain level, they would be able to make wiser, more informed decisions; this really is at the centre of this vision. The people must be educated first and foremost for this to be reality," she told The Gleaner.
Many Vision 2030 targets yet to be met
Shanel Green, who studies at Ajou University in Suwon in the northwest of South Korea, did not think that many of the targets have yet been met at this stage of the country's development for her to believe Vision 2030 was attainable.
"I have seen the idea they have for the energy sector, but I am thinking, with what you have, how do you maximise and incorporate the new technologies in the mix and on what scale is that done? How will it benefit the people and the massively underexploited manufacturing and export sectors?" she asked.
Green said that while there has been plenty of talk around the Vision 2030 plan, not much was being done on the ground to have the people understand and buy into it as policy and a way of life.
Harris further stated that while turning the proverbial corner appears some way off in the future, she remains confident in the ability of Jamaica to make adjustments in less than five years in order to achieve Vision 2030.
"If we all develop the mindset that we will, as a collective, try to get to that idealistic timeline, while raising our standard of living, cutting down on crime and violence, slashing the cases of corruption, while keeping our economic outlook strong and at the same time remodelling our social construct, I feel we can get there," she said.
"Korea's history is not that dissimilar to ours in this regard. Singapore was also similar, but they, too, have overcome, and now Jamaica must find itself, must raise the bar, and become not just that ideal place to live, but in reality, the paradise it truly must be," Harris noted.