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JIS News

Plans are advanced for the implementation of the second phase of the Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training (TVET) Rationalization project in 10 secondary schools in the corporate area, come September.
The TVET Rationalization project is designed to equip secondary level students with the requisite industrial and business skills in order to facilitate their smooth transition into the world of work.
In an interview with JIS News, TVET Project Director, Carol Powell, said that preparations for the project were “going well” for its incorporation into the selected schools.
The first phase of the project was piloted in some 17 technical and high schools in the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland.
The participating schools in St. Elizabeth comprised Munroe College, St. Elizabeth Technical, Magotty, Balaclava, Hampton, Lacovia, Black River, Lewisville, B. B. Coke and Newell High Schools. Schools in Westmoreland were Mannings, Little London, Godfrey Stewart, Maud McLeod, Grange Hill, Peters’ Field High Schools and Frome Technical.
The Director noted that while the original plan was to replicate the project in the corporate area, the second phase, would also be treated as a pilot, since it was the first time that the project was being undertaken in an urban setting. She said that the urban schools had features that are different from the rural area institutions.
Mrs. Powell told JIS News that while the Education Ministry had selected 15 schools from Kingston and St. Andrew to participate in the project, it would only be implemented in 10 schools come September. The remaining five, she said, would be incorporated later in the process, when they were better equipped with the requisite resources.
She informed that some $60 million has been spent on the second leg of the project to construct, refurbish and equip school laboratories; and procure buses to transport students and hire personnel for the various programmes. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Youth in collaboration with HEART Trust/NTA.
The TVET Rationalization Project was introduced in secondary schools in Jamaica in 2000, based on the results of a study done by the Education Ministry, which revealed that many graduates from the secondary school system were not prepared for the world of work.
In this regard, Mrs. Powell said that the project was conceptualized and implemented with the aim of bridging the gap between secondary school and the work environment. “The issue is to get the workforce prepared and the vision is to have the secondary system respond in such a way, in order to ensure that graduates are not only ready for tertiary level education but also for the world of work,” Mrs. Powell emphasized.
Recognizing that not many schools were equipped with the resources that would be required under the programme, Mrs. Powell informed that the Ministry, along with the HEART/Trust NTA, formulated the concept of the ‘Home-School-Lab-School Cluster Model’, in order to ensure that students were exposed to different areas of vocational and technical education in a cost effective way.
The ‘Home-School-Lab-School Cluster Model’, Mrs. Powell explained, was the first of its kind in the world and involved the sharing of resources such as laboratories/work areas and instructors among participating schools, thus underpinning the major aim of the project, which is to allow students to access quality vocational education efficiently.
Mrs. Powell explained that schools were placed in three clusters based on their geographical location and each cluster provided a total of 10 courses to comprise agriculture, auto mechanics, cosmetology, visual arts, business administration, garment construction, carpentry and joinery, wood and building technology, electrical installation and plant machinery.
All schools are equipped with a food and nutrition/home management and information technology laboratories. “Labs or workshops are developed in each of the schools and each school within a cluster might host say four programmes, so one school would not host all the programmes,” she pointed out.
“So students from within a cluster will travel from their own (home) school to another (lab) school if the programme they select is only offered at another school within the cluster,” she further explained. Each course is taught five days per week, but a student is required to attend classes twice per week, with each class comprising four hours of practical work and two hours of theory. The programme, which is only offered to students who are in grades 10 and 11, lasts for two years.
On successfully completing the programme, a student will receive the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica Certificate (NVQ-J), which is awarded by the National Council for Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training (NCTVET). On receiving this certificate, students can move on to accomplish level two training at the institute or gain further work experience.