The days when Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was limited to technical high schools and new secondary high schools are over. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is moving to mainstream TVET in the education system to include all schools at the primary level. 

During a recent TVET integration sensitization session for all principals at the primary level held at the Wolmer’s Boys School in Kingston Dr Grace McLean, Chief Education Officer, said 

TVET in Jamaica was faced with challenges today because of the unstructured way in which it was introduced in the education system in the past. 

The TVET Integration Model, developed by Dr McLean, is a practical guide towards the integration of TVET in the education system and will be used as the guiding tool for principals and teachers for a smooth integration process. In her presentation Dr McLean implored the school administrators to utilize the structured step-by-step approach that will guarantee greater levels of educational success

She added that the model will provide a structured and stronger link between education and the development of the workforce which will ultimately strengthen the country’s economic growth and development.  

In implementing the model teachers will demonstrate to pupils different career pathways and ensure that the TVET occupations are distinguished from others, disclosed the Chef Education Officer. In addition, pupils will get the opportunity to experiment and develop an understanding of how basic skills lead to broader and more fundamental skills development. 

Principals, vice principals and other school administrators weighed in on the introduction of the TVET Integration Model at the primary school level. 

Lorraine Bramwell, vice-principal at the Red Hills All-Age School in St Andrew, said the TVET Integration model is a good initiative that, with necessary funding and resources, can be implemented at her school. 

“There are many students that are not academically inclined and find it easier to learn a skill in an area that they are better at.  At the primary level we do not have adequate resources for a TVET focus, however if we get the resources the teachers will embrace it and the students will also appreciate the addition to the curriculum,” Bramwell said. 

Lexford Johnson, Principal at the Norman Gardens Primary School in Kingston, believes the TVET model is relevant because it is an important requirement for persons to be skilled for the modern workforce. 

“We have tried it at our school through the ASTEP programme and found it to be successful. We could not continue with it because of financial resources so we are hoping with this introduction that we will be afforded the requisite resources to the development of the students,” Johnson said.