Appropriate regard being had to the country’s financial indicators, the biggest emergency I heard spoken of during this year’s Budget debate is that of our educational system. We as Bahamians are very good at living in denial and pretending to be where we are not as a country. We quickly take offense and clutch defiantly onto our insecurities and feelings of inferiority whenever education is discussed. The reality is that it will ultimately matter very little who is in office if the majority of your citizens cannot read, comprehend and calculate beyond a certain grade level. The nation cannot advance beyond a certain level if so many of us are appreciably limited in our ability to critically think, reason, and productively carry out certain fundamentals in our society. Yes, the nation will have some bright moments along the way, but collectively we will be lacking in very significant ways. Many of us think the sum total of education is all about getting a job. That is only a small part of what education as a process in human development, is all about. True education opens the mind. When minds are closed, doors of growth and possibilities remain closed, limiting life skills and by extension limiting how far we collectively can go as a people. Pretending this isn’t true won’t make it go away. The great Marcus Garvey said if you liberate the minds of men you will ultimately liberate the bodies (or state of being) of men. This is so true. The extent to which our country is stagnant can in significant part, be directly linked to our stagnant minds and outlook on life. Education is never the sexy, exciting or important story on our lips and Facebook feeds. It’s the story that gets glossed over in favor of politics and foolery. But the state of education and the minds of our people in this country is our national emergency. The tragedy is that most of us are not looking at it that way at all.