JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has charged HEART/NTA with the responsibility of equipping students with training that will prepare them for the real world of work and employment.
He said that under the government’s education transformation programme, where the school leaving age will be extended from 16 to 18 years, HEART/NTA will have the greatest responsibility, as they will have to complete the job of ensuring that students are equipped with a skill.
However Mr. Golding said he felt confident that the HEART/NTA will be able to meet this challenge based on the flexibility and adaptability with which it has approached its training courses, compared to the regimentation that exists at other institutions.
Mr. Golding was speaking at the 4th annual Competency-Based Education and Training conference at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay, February 21. The two-day conference was presented under the theme “Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET): Towards a National Policy”. It will examine the CBET approach and the implications for implementation at an institutional and national level.
Addressing the HEART/NTA executives and education specialists from several other Caribbean islands and the United States, Mr. Golding repeated his concern with the challenges facing Jamaica’s workforce with so many people being untrained and unskilled. He said the challenge facing HEART/NTA is enormous because the economic success of Jamaica rests with the success of the training institution.
He said that in order to reduce the poverty level in Jamaica from the current 15%, as disclosed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the country would have to work harder to get to that core of uneducated and unskilled, who seem to defy the opportunities of training. ‘We cannot abandon them and we have to work on those numbers to ensure that over time we can breakthrough that barrier of intellectual neglect, to pull those people into the mainstream of economic activity”, Mr. Golding said.
He said HEART/NTA had demonstrated that the conventional approach to training is not going to work in 2008 as the market for labour force and learning methods had changed. He said that the CBET programme on which HEART//NTA has embarked is not just relevant but imperative as it seeks to focus on education at the tertiary level to sensitize and synchronise the work being done in pursuing CBET and to make tertiary education providers aware of the critical role they have to play.
Executive Director of HEART/NTA, Donald Foster has welcomed the challenges thrown out by the Prime Minister and assured him that already the organisation had taken on the directives given by him at a recent meeting to develop training programmes for the craft industry, the fire brigade, maritime, police and security forces.

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