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Educators Schooled to Deliver Enhanced Competency Based Training

05/03/2017 05:35 PM
TVET Council Barbados Latest News

Students’ success should no longer be measured by their ability to memorize or retain theoretical knowledge but by their ability to perform a task and master a skill in real work situations.


That is partially what Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) seeks to achieve. According to Katie Boone, Manager of International Partnership and Projects at Durham College in Canada, it also aims to enhance the workforce because it ensures that the skills and abilities of graduates are better applied to employer needs.


Ms Boone and a team from her College recently facilitated year-long training with 25 mid-level managers from secondary and post-secondary institutions in Barbados, on Change Management and Leadership.


It was organised through the Ministry of Education’s Skills for the Future Programme, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).


The training strategically focused on practical ways to incorporate and enhance the local competency based education and training system. 


“Prior to starting the programme, each individual, along with the support of the (head) of his or her institution, had identified a change management project that he or she would be working on. It could be implementing CVQs at their institutions or building programmes that better address at-risk students,” she explained.


Part of the training was spent in Canada at Durham College where participants learnt Leadership Management Techniques and Communications Strategies. They were also assigned mentors who had experience in implementing similar projects. The participants then returned home to amend, improve and implement their projects. This was followed by online support and a workshop in Barbados which monitored the implementation and execution.


Ms Boone pointed out that competency based education and training is a shift in how students are usually taught as it focuses on teaching applied-learning. 


“The big difference between competency based and traditional education, is that the theoretical teaching and understanding in the traditional system is very quickly put into practice through competency based education and training.


“It’s a cumulative learning process, meaning that it is a step by step process, as soon as you master one skill you move onto the next. So, when the graduate enters the workforce, he or she has already gained experience through their training programme in real world application skills,” she stressed.


Furthermore, for this type of training to be successful, it must be responsive to labour market needs. 


Ms Boone outlined that her college had established Programme Advisory Committees comprising government, educators and employer representatives for each programme offered.


Recommending that a similar mechanism be used in Barbados, she said this approach was critical because input from employer representatives would assist in curriculum design and meeting industry demands.


The Canadian Educator was full of praise for the Ministry of Education for hosting the programme. 


“It is really important to note the impact of choosing mid-level managers verses people already in decision making positions like principals and directors of institutions. Mid-level managers are the future leaders of the education sector in your country and I think it was a great decision by your Ministry of Education to refocus the training to look at those up and coming leaders. 


“They were some of the most passionate and dedicated people I have met in my professional life. If the majority of your mid-level managers are similar to this group, then Barbados is in good hands to move forward with any changes you decide to make to your education system,” Ms. Boone concluded.  (PR/TVET COUNCIL BARBADOS)