At a cost exceeding US$12 million, the Ministry of Education is set to launch a skills development and employability project.
According to information coming out of the Ministry, the project is aimed at improving capacity to deliver Technical Vocational Education and Training [TVET] programmes equitably across the sector.
To facilitate the implementation of the project, Government through the Education Ministry was able to secure US$12.2 million in funding from the Caribbean Development Bank [CDB]. The project which is set to be launched today at the Kingston, Georgetown Pegasus Hotel, is one that will allow for the development of Practical Instruction Departments [PIDs] of four secondary schools in the hinterland. In addition, three Practical Instruction Centres [PICs] from Regions Three, Four and Five have been chosen to have their workshops, classrooms and/or laboratories undergo refurbishment and expansion.
This move, according to information released by the Public Relations Department of the Ministry, will allow the respective facilities to implement the award of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification [CVQ] certification in five subject areas.
It has been pointed out that the main objective is to increase the number of secondary school leavers with the appropriate skills and competencies to successfully enter the job market, embark on an economic enterprise or pursue appropriate post-secondary/tertiary education and training.
Since 2014 the Ministry of Education had been fervently promoting CVQ qualifications. CVQ is a CARICOM approved award that represents achievement of a set of competencies which define core work practices of an occupational area consistent with the levels articulated within the regional qualifications framework.
The local Ministry of Education was moreover gearing, since a few years back, to offer CVQs at the level of the technical institutions and secondary schools with the latter offering competency programmes through the Secondary Competency Certificate Programme [SCCP].
Through the SCCP students are able to choose, inclusive of Mathematics and English, programmes that could allow them to be competent and thereby certified in particular skills area such as plumbing, masonry and welding.
Such training programmes were long being offered at the country’s technical vocational institutions that exist in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and 10.
But as a Caribbean region-wide certification programme, CVQs have certain standards, thus, it was imperative that measures be put in place to have facilities be upgraded to the requisite standards thus the need to target PIDs and PICs.
While most of the Caricom countries have signalled their intention to be accredited in order to award CVQ’s to graduates of their TVET systems, only seven were in April of this year approved with the authority to issue CVQ’s.
This disclosure was made earlier this year by Chairman for the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training [CTVET], Mr. Clinton Williams. He listed the accredited countries as Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Guyana.
The latter two, he said, have already been subjected to Verification Audits for the implementation and use of the Quality Assurance Criteria and Guidelines since November 2015.
The CVQ, according to Williams, should be viewed as both a regional and internationally accredited certificate which all local training providers in Guyana should strive for by registering with the CTVET and upgrading their curriculum, human resource and facilities to the prescribed internationally acceptable standards.
Williams even then pointed to the costly nature of offering TVET programmes and highlighted the need for the implementation of policy framework at the national level for funding.
He’d revealed that with funding secured from the CDB, a comprehensive study on the feasible mechanisms that can be utilized to fund TVET was completed.
Under the same facility, the Council was also able to complete a Public Relations Strategy, which Williams disclosed would be utilized not only to promote greater visibility of TVET but to encourage greater focus by motivating females and persons with disabilities to pursue training courses in TVET particularly in the non-traditional skills area.
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