Ronald Jones, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development. (FP)

The CVQ programme breaks down "artificial divisions" and "barriers" placed between the academic and technical and vocational studies.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Ronald Jones asserted this today as he addressed the official launch of the programme, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that what made the difference was the self esteem which ???a piece of paper" [certification] gave, he said, "Those who should be the certified or certificated we did not move with alacrity to grant them their qualification to satisfy their worth.?? We are doing it now through our CVQ/NVQ qualification because they were working harder to transform this society than most other people.?? They were working on our lands and building our houses, our bridges, our roads, our lecterns, our tables and our platforms; they were in Chalky Mount creating beautiful pottery.

"They were in Pelican [Village] moulding something but nobody was saying you were worthy. They were in our factories producing some of the best furniture out of good Bajan mahogany; they were turning table legs; furniture, but somebody was saying to them ???you are not worthy’, but let me say to all of you and all of those out there that in fact ???You are worthy! And, you are worthy because recognition has come and will come your way for the expression of your knowledge."

Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Laurie King, in lauding the introduction of CVQs said: "This work with the CVQs represents the turning of the second curve in technical and vocational education since the early 1990s. The first curve of the 1990s was the rationalisation of technical and vocational education in secondary schools in Barbados, a precondition set by the Inter-American Development Bank when Barbados sought support."

He noted that the country had been proactive in the move towards the CVQs having considered it before the recession occurred. Mr. King said: "The energy expended on this project and its continuation even during this economic crisis is indicative of the value and potential as seen in technical vocational education and training."

He stressed that the literature on TVET education on national development had shown that countries which took this type of education seriously were able to ride out of a recession faster and stronger. And, he added that industrialised countries, including China, had shown that the production of goods using a competent workforce could keep the economy growing in the face of economic meltdown.

He contended that while Barbados does not have the physical space for heavy industries, it has the potential to match and exceed the rest of the world in the services sector. Mr. King remarked, therefore that the investment in CVQs, was Government???s contribution to the development of a qualified workforce."

It was indicated that the CVQ programme covers traditional technical and vocational areas but also adds accounting, health and wellness; amenities horticulture, including turf grass management for cricket field preparation and specialty fields that relate to the cultural industries. "There are at least five discrete subject areas in each qualification. These include communication, mathematics and the vocational areas," the Acting CEO pointed out.

He noted that students entering the workforce would be more industry ready and that these qualifications were not intended to be ends in themselves but designed to help students build on successes and progress via the vocational route.?? As he lauded Technical and Vocational Education Training Council, the Caribbean Examinations Council and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, he stressed,

??"one true test of the effectiveness of education and training is the employability of the graduates."

CVQs, he added, were viable course offerings "for students to pursue as they moved from school to the world of work or further education."


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