Come September, some Barbadian secondary school students will be introduced to the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Programme. 
Developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, the programme is aimed at providing a more accurate measure of curriculum and extra-curricular competency at the secondary school level. 
Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer, Laurie King said that for students to gain the qualification, they “must demonstrate competence in reaching CARICOM approved occupational standards developed by practitioners and employers”. 
According to Mr. King, the CVQ programme has five levels.  Level one begins at secondary school, with level five allowing some students to transfer credits gained for entry to a first degree or masters’ degree”.
In explaining the process, he said, “Students are entered for assessments in specific skill areas.  Subject teachers are trained to instruct and perform continuous in-school assessment.  When a student is ready, the assessor or teacher assesses his/her competence…  Students are required to demonstrate competence in work-based activities simulated in the school workshop or laboratory.”
The CVQ is organised into units, allowing students to earn units towards obtaining the certificate.    Candidates will receive a full CVQ award from the Caribbean Examinations Council, when all the units specified in the qualification structure are accumulated. 
Pointing to the benefits of the programme, Mr. King said: “It is in keeping with the occupational standards nationally and internationally, in order to facilitate life-long learning, the transfer of skills, and the strengthening of relationships between the learning situation and the world of work.”
The programme covers several areas of study, including Agriculture, Business, Health, Manufacturing, Engineering and Maintenance and Tourism and Hospitality. 
More information on the Caribbean Vocational Qualification may be obtained from the TVET council’s website:

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