Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 11, 2013 (SKNIS): A new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) strategy, which was recently approved by the Caribbean Community’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), is set to redefine TVET as an economic development activity.
Principal TVET Officer for St. Kitts and Nevis Fritzroy Wilkin stated that the new strategy positions TVET not only as an activity that contributes to sustaining the economy but it also looks at expanding the concept of TVET to include the higher level skills.
“If we look at what is happening in the workplace now, the demand is really for persons with higher level skills and not just people who can ‘do’,” he explained. “We need people who can ‘do’ and also ‘know’.”
He added that the strategy also calls for a reform of the education system across the region to make TVET more of a priority.
“The workplace is now asking for persons who are competent, persons who can ‘do’ and this is what the programme does,” Mr. Wilkin noted. “It develops skills to make people competent. If employers are saying that they need competent people, then we are saying that our education system, since it prepares people for the world of work, must have TVET as a core component within the system.”
Continuous development of systems as it relates to training and education is also a part of the new strategy while establishment of structures within the region will ensure that TVET is managed effectively.
The strategy proposes that every territory in CARICOM establishes a national training authority to oversee and monitor TVET implementation. The Principal TVET Officer explained that the plan recognizes constraints that the smaller territories would have and recommends that whatever is being established as a TVET system within the small state, must be something that is sustainable.
In addition, it recommends that the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) be given a more legal status in order to make decisions and to monitor effectively the events taking place within the region in terms of the standardization of training in the TVET programmes.
Mr. Wilkin remarked that the strategy is pointing the region in the right direction in terms of TVET development and the restructuring of the education and training system.