PM Singles Out Technical and Vocational Training for Special Attention

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), listens to Alphansus Davis, retired principal of Spalding High School, at an appreciation function held at Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on April 5.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the technical and vocational training areas are being singled out for focus, and that this has already begun with the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) being merged with the HEART Trust/NTA.
  • Speaking at an appreciation function for retired Spalding High School Principal, Alphansus Davis, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on April 5, the Prime Minister said it is estimated that some 130,000 youngsters are either not in school, not attached to a training institution or have no skills.
  • “We must garner, hone, take charge of, and train those young people, because they can in a short period of time, provide the labour force that we need to drive the new growth industries in our country,” Mr. Holness said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the technical and vocational training areas are being singled out for focus, and that this has already begun with the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) being merged with the HEART Trust/NTA.

He says such an important and strategic move, which will create a national training organisation, will provide services for members of the population who are not attached to any institution of training.

Speaking at an appreciation function for retired Spalding High School Principal, Alphansus Davis, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on April 5, the Prime Minister said it is estimated that some 130,000 youngsters are either not in school, not attached to a training institution or have no skills.

“We must garner, hone, take charge of, and train those young people, because they can in a short period of time, provide the labour force that we need to drive the new growth industries in our country,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister argued that Jamaica’s education system is a binding constraint on the country’s growth prospects, and that 10 years ago, he did not think the problem today would be that there are not sufficient trained workers.

“We have industries that are growing at a faster rate than we can supply them with labour. If you look at the growth in business process outsourcing and logistics, we are not turning out enough trained graduates,” Mr. Holness said.

He said the Government has to double down on what is being done in education, which has a budget this year of $101.6 billion, up from $98.9 billion last year, adding that taxpayers should be asking what the money is being used for and whether their children are benefiting enough from the budgetary allocation.

“Make no mistake, the people who are committing the crime, were either failed by the schools or were not in schools. We intend to focus on the education system this year,” he added.

The Prime Minister lauded Mr. Davis for his service, noting that when he was the Minister of Education, the retired principal served as his adviser.

Mr. Holness said that he is a better person for having benefited from the guidance, direction and fatherly advice of Mr. Davis.

“He (Mr. Davis), is a humble, honest, caring, committed man; he is truly a great Jamaican,” he said.

Replying to the many tributes paid to him, Mr. Davis thanked everyone for the appreciation function and threw out a challenge for a radical shift to a realignment of the school curriculum to complement career interests.

“Make interest-based education the name of the game. Why force children to do subjects in which they have no interest?” he asked.

He added that the child who consistently taps his desk may want to be a DJ, so the school should hone in on his interest. To do otherwise, he suggested, would be to discourage this young man, who might later become a behavioural challenge to the school community.

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