Vocational Based Training as Important as Academics – Education Minister


Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has pointed out that for many years the education system has only been measured in terms of academics and that this perception has to be changed.
“We have looked at our education system purely in terms of academics and that the only persons who are considered educated are the persons who pass through sixth form and universities and that perception has to change,” he stated.
Mr. Holness was speaking at the official re-opening of the HEART School of Cosmetology, at the institution’s premises at 10 Hope Road in Kingston on Friday (July 25).
He said that the persons that are in vocations, and applications based training, are of a unique discipline. “There is the discipline to follow instructions, discipline to respect order, there is the discipline to be courteous. They do not have the confusion that the rest of the society and the people in academia do that service is servitude and that is the beauty of vocational training because they are tested based on their competences. So it is not just what you know, but it is what you demonstrate that you know and that is the beauty of vocational training,” he said.
Minister Holness pointed out that Jamaica’s vocational application-based training will be considered on par with academics-based training.
“In many ways Jamaica is a society of elitism, but the market is not an elite place, the market only appreciates a price. The market has already decided that persons who have a vocational based training will be able to ask for a higher price and in many instances a higher price than academics,” he noted.
“If you look across the developed world, persons who are trained in plumbing, electrical installations, engineering, in cosmetology, what they can demand from the market for their services is often times higher than what a lawyer, or an accountant can demand from the market,” he continued.
The Education Minister further pointed out that the mindset of the society to appreciate the value that is intrinsic in vocational applications-based training needs to be changed, in an effort to conceptualize that vision.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Dr. Nigel Clarke, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the HEART Trust/NTA said that the opening of the new HEART School of Cosmetology would add to an impressive list of accomplished, specialized training institutions and that it uniquely positions HEART to positively impact many Jamaicans.
“The development of this facility forms part of our thrust to be responsive to the needs of industries and sectors, because it is through building a competent workforce that we create a competitive economy,” he said, adding that the focus will continue to be on quality, using the competency-based training approach which virtually ensures an almost perfect fit for workers and their jobs.
Executive Director of HEART Trust/NTA, Donald Foster, in his comments, noted that the institution boasts the latest technology, as well as a cadre of qualified, certified and competent staff and instructors, who would ensure that learners who complete the programmes are first world and first class.
“We have invested millions of dollars to acquire the latest equipment and technology in the industry and this is geared towards giving the very best in functionality and allowing learners to develop a high level of competence,” he said. The HEART Trust/NTA School of Cosmetology was founded in 1984 and specializes in cosmetology and beauty services.

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