Basseterre: St. Kitts, July 27, 2020:Minister of Education Hon. Jonel Powell said he is excited about the prospects and plans for Technical and Vocational Education in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
In a meeting with the TVET Secretariat last week, Minister Powell was introduced to staff at the unit which according to Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kertney Thompson is set to increase the effectiveness and scope of the organization.
Dr. Thompson highlighted the secretariat’s ongoing programmes including civil works which will upgrade the technical and vocational education facilities at high schools and TVET establishments on both islands.
“We just started construction work at the Gingerland Secondary. They are getting a completely new technical wing. We are on the verge of starting rehabilitation at all of our secondary schools in St. Kitts with the exception of the Basseterre High School which should be getting a completely new school,“ informed Dr. Thompson.
The CEO also revealed specifically that contracts for Cayon and Sandy Point High TVET facilities were being finalized, final approval to start the bidding process at Verchilds High School was underway and the secretariat was also in the final stages of a report for the project which will take place at Saddlers Secondary.
A total of 3.3 million dollars of work is to be done at the secondary schools, while an approximated 4.5 million in construction work is expected at the Advanced Vocational Educational Centre (AVEC).
Minister of Education Hon. Jonel Powell said it was heartening to see this kind of progress being made as far as state of the art TVET facilities as well as the full compliment of staff at the TVET Secretariat.
He commented that he had had to insist that he be allowed to study welding while in school. According to the minister, he was not considered a technically inclined student, but more academically focused.
The minister said, “I am thrilled that the prevailing mindset of the day which suggested that skills training was for underachievers, is now obsolete and that every student will now be required to complete some level of technical and vocational training prior to graduation.”
Apart from the civil works component, Dr. Thompson introduced Minister Powell to other key aspects of the TVET Enhancement Project including Consultancy Services and Training and Development of Personnel.
Also part of the TVET Enhancement strategy is an Operational Effectiveness Consultancy (OEC) to help develop a marketing plan as well as a Prior Learning and Recognition (PLR) Policy which will provide the secretariat with the ability to certify persons in the workforce who have the skills but do not have the qualifications.
The role of the TVET Secretariat includes accrediting TVET institutions, driving curriculums for TVET, approving TVET centres as well as training assessors and verifiers.
Most importantly, according to Dr. Thompson is the overall objective of TVET Enhancement to transform the economy from the traditional academic focus to a career development system regardless of the field of endeavour.