Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Patrick Todd (standing at right), looks on as Principal of the Garrison School, Matthew Farley, receives a haircut from a student.

Educators have been encouraged to ensure that graduates of secondary schools are better prepared for the work force, not only as employees but also as potential employers with real world experiences and skills.

This advice has come today from Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Patrick Todd, as he delivered the feature address at the official opening of a Resource Room for courses in cosmetology and barbering at the Garrison Secondary School, St. Michael.

The Minister of State noted that in these challenging economic times it was not enough to cater only to students’ cognitive abilities. Rather, he said, “We must also cater to their talents, attitudes, aptitudes and the values that we seek to inculcate in our young people.”

Highlighting other benefits of the programme he stated that the resource room had already “led to a more focused and disciplined student with a stronger work ethic, with some students already benefiting in tangible ways”. He therefore commended sponsors, Hilton Barbados, for initiating the programme which commenced in September 2008.

Mr. Todd also stated that with respect to the need for competency-based education his Ministry had partnered with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council to pilot the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) in nine secondary schools across the island.

In his address, Principal, Matthew Farley said that today, “Students are growing up in a fast-paced environment and in a culture that has devalued education.” This has forced schools, he added, to “compete with the attention of children and it is a challenge for which we have a number of options”.

The Principal stressed that his students deserved “a chance to find a niche. They must be given options by which they can earn a livelihood to prevent them from “slipping into vices”,” he added.

Mr. Farley described the barber shop and the beauty salon as, “the most frequented places” and therefore “recession proof, income-generating areas of personal development” in which students had expressed an interest.

The Resource Room at the Garrison Secondary School is a classroom which has been converted into a barber/cosmetology salon as an alternative course for senior students. The courses are taught hand-in-hand with academic subjects on the schools’ curriculum.

As part of the course some students are attached to private sector entities as a means of further augmenting their skills.

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