Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands. (FP)

Students of Home Economics have been told that they are among those positioned to benefit from technical education training as that subject still remains in demand.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, relayed this message yesterday as he welcomed over 150 delegates to the 20th biennial conference of the Caribbean Association of Home Economists (CAHE).

The conference opened at the Roy Marshall Teaching Complex, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus under the theme: Home Economics Empowerment: Education for Sustainable Lifestyles, and Senator Husbands stressed that it was timely as the country was in the sixth year of a global economic crisis and the conference’s outcomes could enable students and families to overcome every-day concerns.

He told delegates: "In this the 21st century, there is a shift in the teaching of technical vocational subjects to focus on preparing students to acquire technical skills, core skills, knowledge and attitudes essential for preparing an individual for the world of work and business.

"Governments within the region are very supportive of this venture. Students of Home Economics are positioned to benefit from technical education training as it is a specialised area with varied skills that are in demand in the modern market."

Emphasising that labour markets were becoming more specialised and demanding a higher level of competence, the Parliamentary Secretary said managers of businesses deemed it worthy to invest in individuals who had been exposed to technical and vocational educational training.??

Recounting a story of a graduate with high Honours but no job experience, Mr. Husbands stressed that Competency Based Education Training and Assessment (CBETA) would eliminate the shortfall any university graduate may encounter in obtaining necessary work experience. And, he signalled his own support for CBETA, Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) and the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), saying: "Students exposed to a programme of this nature should be ideal employees in the workplace."

Stating that they should also be conscientious entrepreneurs, the Parliamentary Secretary added: "With the array of basic skills acquired under the umbrella of technical/vocational subjects they have the opportunity to be creative and innovative and to transform innovations to economic goods. Exposure to CVQs will further enhance students’ performance in the workplace. This takes the pressure off governments to create jobs for their citizens.??

"At the same time, the citizens acquire a sense of job satisfaction in working for themselves. Entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to sell their goods and services globally as they can capitalise on the use of the internet.??

As educators we must encourage our students to be innovative and creative thinkers and to place products on the marketplace that are practical, marketable and original." Mr. Husbands, a former teacher himself, also pointed out that Home Economics focused today on achieving optimal and sustainable living for individuals, families and communities and stressed that students, exposed to this discipline, honed skills that would equip them for life.

CAHE, and the Barbados Association of Teachers of Home Economics were congratulated for hosting the conference and Senator Husbands, commended Home Economics teachers for "their outstanding efforts in guiding students in acquiring excellent passes in the CSEC and CAPE, CXC examinations".


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