Jamaica : Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Government is placing Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at the core of the educational system in order to align training and education to market needs.
He said that contrary to popular belief, it is the technical side of education that is driving the world economy, and employees are now required to have technical skills.
“So this notion, I call it nonsense, about TVET being somewhat inferior, or somehow is a taboo, is far from what the reality is out there in the world today,” he pointed out.
“The average jobs… 90 percent and rising… are technical-based, and our students must be aware of this… that’s all I am saying. We need to get with this programme and carry on the transformation,” he said.
“Places like the University of the West Indies (UWI) need to assist in carrying on the dialogue. Teachers must also keep up to date with changes,” he added.
Senator Reid was addressing the 3rd International Conference on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Caribbean at the Hilton Resort and Spa in St. James on May 10.
He pointed out that countries such as Germany, Australia, Switzerland and Austria, which combine practical and theoretical training, have the lowest unemployment rates among young people in the world.
He said it is based on the need to ensure that students are adequately prepared for the job market that the Ministry has been insisting that every youngster must remain in school until age 18, and must pursue a programme of training that leads to certification.
“Why would I want to preside over a system where students can comfortably graduate and leave school at grade 11? Graduate to what or to where? Because you have five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects (CSEC), you think you are qualified… . Qualified to do what?” he asked.
“I am building a foundation… that is what I am doing,” he declared. “We have to compete against Japan and Singapore… countries that we were once ahead of,” he quoted.
“If we are going to talk about lifelong learning, then we are going to have to have an education system that says students must go beyond grade 11,” he stressed.
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