Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, chatting with some of the students who participated in the World of Work Showcase and Ayanna Young-Marshall (centre), Co-ordinator of the UWI’s SEED programme. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training has responded to the needs of employers and students by making a number of reforms to the school curriculum.

Speaking at the third World of Work Showcase for secondary school students yesterday at the Frank Collymore Hall themed: Youth and the Future of Work, Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, told those in attendance that technical skills would play an important role as Government reformed the educational system.

She said these skills would equip individuals with the required attitudes, knowledge and behaviours for the world of work.

To this end, Ms. Bradshaw pointed out that her Ministry was developing a “robust” technical and vocational education system in secondary and post-secondary institutions.

She said that 21 public secondary schools had included the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) in the curriculum and were delivering more than 20 standards at Levels 1 and 2.

The Minister noted that CVQs developed employability skills and required industry collaboration at each stage of their development and execution.

Additionally, she stated that efforts were being made to strengthen literacy and numeracy, which were considered the foundation for technological skills.

“One such effort was undertaken last year when a pilot of City and Guilds Mathematics and English examinations was undertaken at the Level 1 in two secondary schools as a response to the need to fill skill gaps in numeracy and literacy. There are three levels of the City and Guilds examinations – levels I, 2 and 3 – and this year, five schools have used the examinations to upskill their students and give them that critical foundation. And, there will be more of this coming with the reforms,” she disclosed.

Students checking out one of the booths at the World of Work Showcase held at the Frank Collymore Hall on Wednesday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Reforms have also been made to the curriculum of special schools, such as the Ann Hill and Irving Wilson Schools.

Ms. Bradshaw explained that as inclusive education was being embraced across all schools, the Ministry’s stance was that no child should be left behind.

“…We have expanded the curriculum at Ann Hill and Irving Wilson to include the Caribbean Vocational Qualification and certifications in Electronic Document Preparation and Management at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level.

“I can report that we are already seeing the success of these initiatives as most recently, students at the Irving Wilson School were able to prepare correspondence for the Principal for outward submission. I urge our partners to continue to be inclusive in their selection of participants in apprenticeship programmes as well as in full employment,” she stated.

The Education Minister added that while all skills for the future would demand technological skills, there was also a need for “soft skills” – those personal qualities that help persons interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

She said the World of Work Showcase, which was organized by Regional Management Systems, would help them to develop such skills.

Participants will also get an opportunity to acquire work experience through a $5 million initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership – Job Start Plus, which is expected to launch in 2020.

It will give young people between the ages of 16 and 24, one year of on-the-job experience to help them get their start in the world of work.

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