The concerning number of young people who are neither functionally literate nor numerate has prompted the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training to move to establish Adult Literacy and Numeracy Programmes.
Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, said they would be offered as part of the training carried out by the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) and should be available “over the next few months”.
She was speaking at the BVTB’s 2019 graduation ceremony, held at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex last Saturday, under the theme: Training Towards a Sustainable Future.
“One of the painful realities that we have had to face as a Ministry and as a developing country, is the fact that a number of our young people are neither functionally literate nor numerate. Many of them can barely read, write and complete basic computations.
“They are unable to meet some of the standards required to demonstrate competence in performing certain tasks. As a result, they are unable to gain employment or remain employed. The frustrations which such persons experience are palpable,” Ms. Bradshaw explained.
She pointed out the BVTB would open its doors to adults who indicated they had challenges and their need for help. She also urged persons to put aside their pride and take advantage of the assistance offered.
The Education Minister noted that persons who participated in the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Programmes would be able to fully participate, after completion, in some of the competency-based programmes offered by the BVTB.
Additionally, Ms. Bradshaw told the 300 graduates that the Board would soon be offering a few advanced courses up to Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) Level 3.
“It is proposed that the Food Preparation and Cooking, and the Bar and Drinks Service courses will be the first of these courses to be launched at this level. Opportunities will be offered for chefs and mixologists to upgrade their skills and be certified.
“A building has already been identified and the appropriate repairs and retrofitting would be done over the next few months. Many more persons would be able to participate in training in these two courses given the additional space provisions and the options which would now be available to them,” the Minister stated.
She said the move to provide more training spaces and advanced courses was part of Government’s repositioning of the Barbados Vocational Training Board.
She further added that the Ministry, through the Board, intended to embark “on new programmes of apprenticeships, internships and training in collaboration with community businesses, master craftspeople and international bodies”.
Ms. Bradshaw, while congratulating the graduates, told them that this juncture was not the end but marked the beginning of their next phase of learning. She urged them to pursue advanced courses to upgrade their skills.
The Minister also offered kudos to the BVTB on becoming a registered institution with the Barbados Accreditation Council, which she said indicated it was well on its way to meeting international standards of operation for the delivery of training, assessment and certification.