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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The days when Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), was limited to only Technical High Schools and New Secondary High Schools are over.
  • The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education, along with other tertiary institutions, is supporting the drive by the Ministry of Education to mainstream TVET in the general education system. The TVET policy that is being promulgated now includes all high schools at the secondary level.
  • Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, UWI, Dr. Disraeli Hutton, says the School is playing a significant role in TVET, which is very unusual for UWI, a tertiary institution that has a liberal arts slant.

The days when Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), was limited to only Technical High Schools and New Secondary High Schools are over.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education, along with other tertiary institutions, is supporting the drive by the Ministry of Education to mainstream TVET in the general education system. The TVET policy that is being promulgated now includes all high schools at the secondary level.

Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, UWI, Dr. Disraeli Hutton, says the School is playing a significant role in TVET, which is very unusual for UWI, a tertiary institution that has a liberal arts slant.

Since 2009, the School began its work in earnest by way of  a five-pronged approach.

This, Dr. Hutton says,  is aimed  at building awareness of the importance of TVET at the tertiary level; delivering academic programmes at the Masters level in Leadership in TVET and  Workforce Development (WFD), and at the Master of Philosophy/PhD level in Education, with a special focus on research in Leadership in TVET and WFD; conducting research, publication and outreach, aimed at fostering new thinking and discourse related to TVET and WFD, while generating an enhanced body of knowledge; and organizing a biennial conference  on  TVET, in partnership with entities such as UNESCO, HEART Trust/NTA and the Ministry of Education.

“Increasingly, TVET is being integrated into general education,  not only in Jamaica but also within the region, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will become a driving force in propelling the effort to strengthen the economies of the region,” he says.

“This integration will provide the relevant platform to respond to the demands of the modern workforce, which faces contemporary developments, such as ‘Logistics hubs’ and ‘green technology’,” Dr. Hutton adds.

In March 2012, the UWI hosted the first international TVET conference in partnership with UNESCO, with support from other members of the TVET community.  The conference was held under the theme: ‘TVET and Human Capacity Development in the Caribbean’.

Meanwhile, Senior Director for TVET Development and Support Systems at HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Marcia Rowe Amonde, tells JIS News that no longer is TVET seen as just something that is added to a curriculum.  “It is now becoming a part of general education,” she says.

“It is our commitment at the HEART Trust, as the national training agency, to work with the wider system, to help with capacitating and building wherever we can, in terms of helping other institutions and other players to offer quality TVET programmes,” she adds.

“We have transformed TVET through STEM, which is more than just the discreet subject areas.  It is also about the methodology, problem solving, exploration and critical thinking, which are higher level meta-cognitive skills that we are integrating into technical vocational education,” Dr. Amonde notes.

She says the HEART Trust is moving forward with some strategic priorities for strengthening TVET, in terms of labour market aligned programmes.

According to Dr. Amonde, the HEART Trust/NTA also works with the Ministry of Education to provide labour market information.

Explaining, she informs that they look at what the labour market intelligence data is saying and then introduce programmes that are aligned to the requirements, such as animation, logistics, food and beverage and management, which are emerging programmes.

A very important component of TVET is quality assurance. “How we deliver quality TVET is critical, so we use the National Council on Technical  Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) standards for quality, to ensure that we are conforming and  following these standards in our institutions,” Dr. Amonde says.

The National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) is a certificate of competence that is recognized islandwide as well as in the CARICOM and Commonwealth countries. This qualification is proof that students have the skills, knowledge and understanding to perform in accordance with workplace requirements.

The HEART Trust/NTA has reduced the NCTVET assessment fee by more than 50 per cent to allow more students to sit the NVQ-J examination.

A second TVET conference is currently underway at the Hilton Rose Hall and Spa, in Montego Bay.

It is organised by UWI, Mona, in collaboration with the UNESCO Kingston cluster office for the Caribbean; the Caribbean Association of National Training Authorities (CANTA); the Ministry of Education; HEART Trust/NTA; and the University of Technology (UTech).