JIS News

The Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Rationalization Programme, which is designed to equip secondary school students with the industrial and business skills for the world of work, will be implemented in 15 secondary schools in Kingston and St. Andrew next year.
The programme, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture and the HEART Trust/NTA, involves the clustering of schools and the sharing of resources, so that students can benefit from the best instruction in business, the arts, industry and technology.
It was successfully introduced as a pilot in 17 technical and high schools in St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland, and according to Director of the Programme, Carol Powell, based on the success of that first phase, the decision was taken to extend it to corporate area schools for the new academic year.
This second phase of the programme, referred to as Replication-Segment One, is estimated to cost $65 million.
Schools to be involved in this phase are St. Andrew Technical High, Kingston College, Kingston Technical High, Tivoli High, Denham Town High, and Wolmers Boys and Girls High, Alpha Academy, St. George’s High, Holy Trinity High, St. Anne’s High, St. Hugh’s High, Charlie Smith High and Trench Town High and Kingston High and they will be divided in three clusters – A, B and C – for the operation of the programme.
From surveys conducted, Mrs. Powell said that students from 10 of the 15 schools rated the programme positively. “There are some principals who see it as the way to go,” she stated, “there are some who cower a bit.but as for the children. they all believe that it must [be introduced].their opinions have all been positive,” she said.
The TVET Rationalization programme was instituted five years ago, and is aimed at equipping high-school graduates with the relevant knowledge and practical skills that are required for the job market.
According to Mrs. Powell, the project was established as a result of a study undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Education, which revealed that most graduates in the secondary school system were not prepared for the world of work, due to the lack of industrial and business skills.
In this regard, she stated that the decision was taken to expose more students to occupational education. “When you look at the technical high schools, those graduates are definitely prepared for the world of work…because they are in a culture, which offers occupational education,” she asserted.
The programme, which is commonly referred to as the ‘Home-School-Lab School Cluster Model’, is the first of its kind in the world, and seeks to effectively yield high quality occupational programmes and to make them accessible to as many students as possible. “It has been tested, tried and proven that this model, is the model that will allow our children to gain access to occupational education,” Mrs. Powell emphasized.
In explaining the name given to the model, Mrs. Powell noted that ‘Home-School’ meant the school where the student was officially registered, while the ‘Lab School’ is where a student would go to access an occupational programme, not offered at his/her school, and the ‘Cluster’ represents the group of schools, which share resources.
In this regard, a school which does not have the resources to establish its own laboratory for a particular programme is able to utilize and share the laboratory space of another.
The model, Mrs. Powell further explained, allows students from various schools to meet at the same class, twice per week. As a result, the programme also facilitates the transportation of students to and from their various locations. “If students choose an option that is not offered at their home schools they will be sent to a lab school within the cluster that has the programme,” she informed.
Each cluster is equipped with at least 10 programmes comprising agriculture, auto mechanics, cosmetology, visual arts, business administration, garment construction, carpentry & joinery, woods & building technology, electrical installation and plant machinery. All schools are equipped with a food & nutrition/home management and information technology laboratories.
The programme, allows students to choose one occupational course along with their academic subjects. On successfully completing the course, which lasts for a period of two years, students are awarded with the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) Certificate, by the National Council for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET).
The programme is expected to be implemented in all secondary schools by 2015 as part of the education transformation process.