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Barbados in Need of TVET Overhaul

12/15/2017 09:52 AM
TVET Council Barbados Latest News

Barbados needs to revisit its national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy if persons in the country are expected to produce work at world class standards.

Executive Director of the TVET Council (TVETC) Barbados, Henderson Eastmond, made this assertion recently during a media briefing and presentation ceremony held to highlight the country’s performance in the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 competition and to present the Barbadian team with its WorldSkills International certificates.

Mr Eastmond specifically called on the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development and Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to begin the process.

According to him a lot was learnt from the recent visit to Abu Dhabi when four Barbadians competed in the world’s biggest vocational skills competition against 58 other countries.

He noted that Barbados needed to be more focused on developing higher level TVET, introducing TVET to students at an earlier stage and offering a greater variety of skill areas. 

“We did not medal, neither did we get a Medallion for Excellence which would indicate that our competitors earned a minimum of 700 points to demonstrate they are operating at world standard,” he explained.

China, Korea, Switzerland, Brazil and Russia placed first, second, third, fourth and fifth respectively at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. “

These countries have invested heavily in their TVET systems. When their people leave secondary schools, they can leave with a technical diploma equivalent to what you at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology and the Barbados Vocational Training Board are putting out. This says something about our educational system, we have an educational system that promotes academics above the technical skills,” Mr. Eastmond lamented.

However, he explained that significant improvement in this area was not impossible. “Russia was below world standards two years ago and has improved its standing in the competition significantly; Singapore, also a small country, is also doing well, but in order to be successful we have to embrace new technologies, new methodologies and new efficiencies,” the Executive Director suggested.

According to him, one way to do this is to offer higher level Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) and introduce persons to skilled areas at an earlier age.  He noted that in Jamaica, students were attaining Level one and Level two CVQs in secondary schools, while in Barbados these levels are done at tertiary institutions. 

“We have to look at things differently, if persons are pushing level one and level two in schools and we are now doing level one and level two in the tertiary institutions, you can see where we will be falling behind,” he stressed.

As it relates to tertiary institutions Mr. Eastmond noted they needed to move to higher levels. “We have higher level training at levels three, four and five and we are going to challenge the institutions to go there, both the major technical intuitions along with the technical division of the Barbados Community College.”

“To do this we have to place specific emphasis on upgrading our TVET teachers in the vocational institutions… we at the TVET Council are in the process of developing a Bachelor of Education in Technological Education and Training for trainers and TVET teachers and we are going to ensure that they come out at level four or level five in the TVET framework.  The aim is to get them at level five so they can deliver at level four,” the Director stated.

Mr Eastmond said Barbados participated in four of the 51 skill areas in the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 competition: Automobile Technology, Cooking, Fashion Technology and Hairdressing, but, didn’t medal or earn a Medallion for Excellence. 

“We are below the WorldSkills standard right now, Russia was below the WorldSkills standard two years ago. They went back home and did their homework and now they are up there. So, we are not bothered as our next target is to reach the WorldSkills standard, to reach that Medallion for Excellence. 

“Akeil Craig-Browne scored 662 points, he was the closest to a Medallion for Excellence, the medallion is 700 points so that is good in Automobile Technology. He also was awarded the Best of Nation title for Barbados. Tinisha Hall was in the Cooking competition, she scored 641; Roshida Griffith scored 638 points in Fashion Technology and Takiya Jordan in Hairdressing scored 614,” he outlined. 

Competitors and delegates of the Barbados team were presented with their official WorldSkills International certificates of participation.  (PR/TVET Council Barbados)