The continued poor performance among this region's primary and secondary school students stems from poor teaching, according to Dr David Williams, Professor of African American Studies and Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, in the United States.
Speaking at the 26th inauguration ceremony of Dr Clinton Valley, president of the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), located in Maracas/St Joseph, at the Hyatt Regency, Williams, a past USC student, said the 2008 report on literacy and numeracy in the Caribbean not only indicated poor academic performance among the region's students but the reasons behind the poor performance.
"The report I refer to identifies multiple concerns to poor academic performance, among them were inadequate teacher qualification, low teaching quality, and insufficient instructional material.''
Williams said there are governments with teacher training programmes that are of poor quality and are not giving the student-teachers the training needed to teach.
"The average pass rate for the Caribbean student who sat the CXC in English and Mathematics is less than 50 per cent. And pass rates are consistently lower in Mathematics than in English.''
"The reality is that many youth will arrive at USC without the needed academic preparation for higher education,'' he said.
Williams said, this is not because the students are not academically inclined but it is a reflection of the quality of training they have received, but with the right tools those students can go on to successful careers at USC and beyond.
"USC can and must do more, USC and other Caribbean institutions for higher education need to make a long term commitment to improving the quality of teaching in the elementary schools.''
Williams said the report's recommendation included: all teachers, not only specialist teachers to take part in professional development activities to enhance their ability to teach children with learning difficulties and also called for all teachers to regularly upgrade their training.
He said teachers need to be treated as professionals and ensure they are fully equipped to lead the next generation forward.
"USC can become a model for what other universities can do in making a difference in nurturing students.
"We live today in a time of challenges where academic institutions such as USC are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities to harness and cultivate human capacity, to empower them and address our most frightening problems.''
Problems of increased crime, HIV/Aids and domestic violence being faced throughout the region, which Williams said, are linked to the academic under-performance in the region.