State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Ministry is committed to the process of transformation through education.
He notes that the Ministry has earmarked $153 million to further advance the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme across 70 high schools in the island, and is pushing for TVET to be integrated at the tertiary level.
Mr. Green, who was speaking to JIS News at the International Education/TVET Conference on November 30 in Montego Bay, highlighted that there is a direct drive and push from the Ministry, not only from a policy perspective but from a practical side.
He said efforts will not only be made to integrate the TVET programmes into high schools but also to communicate to the “tertiary sector that this is the direction”.
“We unveiled, last year, occupational degrees, which are really tied into our TVET areas, and what that does is transition our children from level-two certification into an actual degree,” he outlined.
Mr. Green lauded the efforts of the Joint Committee on Tertiary Education (JCTE) for hosting the conference as a means of bringing together different players within the educational sector to build partnerships.
Meanwhile, he challenged the JCTE to make every effort to re-socialise parents, teachers and students about the importance of skills training, “to move it from the conversation as a secondary form of engagement, as a backup plan, (and) to get some of the best and brightest students into the skill areas”.
“We want to ensure that the tertiary student is adaptive, is bold, is confident, innovative and has critical-thinking skills. That is what we want to see from our tertiary students, so that they can easily transition from one field to the next,” he said.
The integration of this model, he said, has already contributed to the reduction of youth unemployment and will further result in “a greater match between training and employment”.
The JCTE Third International Conference on TVET was held from November 29 to December 1 at the Holiday Inn Resort under the theme ‘Building Educational Partnership through Strategic Leadership, for Institutional Growth, Development and Sustainability: Enhancing Professional Development in Higher Education’.