The Education Ministry is acutely aware of the need for some form of counselling, guiding or social work at the level of our primary schools.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Senator Harcourt Husbands, made this clear yesterday, while addressing the official launch of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors??? (BAGC) 11th National Careers Showcase at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Pointing out that efforts were on stream in this regard, Senator Husbands noted that through the kind assistance of the Sandy Lane Trust, the Ministry had introduced social work counsellors in some primary schools.
???There are already a number of young professionals in the social work area working in the primary schools in Barbados. The economic situation and constraints have not allowed the Ministry to expand that programme further but it is certainly the view, the hope and the aspiration of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation that this programme will be expanded and extended as the situation permits,??? he stated.
Turning his attention to BAGC???s 2016 National Careers Showcase, he told those gathered that young people ought to be prepared to change their careers four times in their working lives. This, he said, prepared them ???for jobs not yet created??? both here and abroad.
Stressing that this effort, as well as the idea of free movement of people tied in well with the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications and National Vocational Qualifications, he added: ???Taking advantage of free movement, an employer in Jamaica would know exactly the skills mastered because they would have similar standards.???
Senator Husbands further acknowledged that Government, through the Skills For The Future (SFTF) Program, had borrowed a considerable amount of money and invested in training under the SFTF, and this had seen several persons, with no previous certification, receiving their CVQs.
He alluded to the showcase???s theme: Embracing the Opportunity, and told the students present: ???You young people can leave school today with a portfolio that is made up of the traditional academic areas [and] a skill ??? something that is immediately marketable, not only in Barbados but throughout the region.???
He also reiterated that schools were not factories, turning out persons to work, but should place emphasis on developing a student???s personality, character and love of country.