Competence-Based Training Important to CSM

Independent consultant on higher education and professional training, Dr. John Randall, has said that competence-based education and training (CBET) was essential to the successful implementation of the Caribbean Single Market (CSM).
He noted that because CBET programmes were linked to occupational standards, the approach would allow for mutual recognition and transfer of qualifications within the CSM, where workers moved across borders.
“To make freedom of movement work, competence-based qualifications are absolutely essential,” said Dr. Randall. He was speaking on the topic: ‘Competence-Based Education and Training: A Drive towards a High Performing Workforce,’ at a luncheon held recently at the Old Hope headquarters of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND).
Defining CBET as “a philosophy that places the intended learning outcome at the heart of educational provision,” Dr. Randall said the concept meant “going beyond the mere possession of knowledge, to the ability to do things with knowledge”.
Comprising the four elements of factual knowledge – conceptual understanding, practical skills, and appropriate behaviours, Dr. Randall said that CBET was the most effective way of preparing students to meet the “speed, accuracy and reliability requirements of industry standards,” noting that the move toward a competence-based approach was occurring internationally.
Outlining the factors that must be considered when applying the competence-based approach, Dr. Randall said “the design of good learning programmes is based on specifying the outcome you intend the learners to achieve, providing learning opportunities that will allow them to get there, assessing whether or not you have achieved what you wanted, and making sure the appropriate resources are there to support them in getting there”.
He added that in developing CBET programmes, trainers must first consider a qualifications framework, which set out what was expected of people at particular levels.
The second critical point of reference, he cited, were the needs of employment, which included the practical skills, knowledge-base needed, as well as, the level of conceptual understanding one needs to be able to solve problems in this area, in order to be competent in a particular job.
Dr. Randall emphasised that the effectiveness of tertiary training could not be assessed by the inputs to the system, or the processes as “the thing that matters at the end of the day is outcome. That outcome, for the purpose of free movement within a single market, had to be expressed in terms of competence”.
Dr. Randall, who is from the United Kingdom, is a consultant to the University Council of Jamaica and the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago.

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