JIS: Jamaica is developing an education system that is quality based, with a special focus on skills in technology, to ensure that the country has a workforce that is creative and innovative.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is also ensuring that students attain strong reasoning skills and the ability to solve problems.
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says one aspect of the reform mandate is the promotion of quality education for the nation’s children to appreciate good governance.
This will be done through the strengthening of the instructional capacities of teachers and the improvement of school facilities, “especially at the primary and secondary levels”, he notes.
The Minister, in his report to a world education forum, in London, England, recently, says as part of the country’s path to growth, the Australian system of education “has provided us with a model to emulate”.
“As such, it is the vision of this Minister, like Australia, to achieve full employment by aligning training to industry,” he argues.
The Minister says the Government is committed to having a world-class education and training system, to produce “well-rounded” individuals who will be able to function creatively and productively in the workforce, and be equipped for local and global industries”.
Citing the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), in Caribbean economies, as it involves 80 per cent of jobs in the region, Senator Reid says it is an essential area that has the full attention of the Ministry.
“We want to produce a reasonable standard of education that is robust and available for all, with a lifelong-learning context. The goal of this policy is to provide a national framework for the development and sustainability of TVET at all levels in the Jamaican education system,” the Minister explains.
Highlighting the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) of the education system, the Minister says it is geared at improving access to quality education, where no one will be left unaccounted for, and that children between three and 18 years of age are attached to, and attending structured learning and training programmes appropriate to their age.
Phase I of CAP involves a series of diagnostic assessments to determine students’ entry-level capabilities, aptitudes and initial interests in careers.
For Phase II, students who choose technically oriented vocations and have the aptitude for the programmes will pursue TVET courses at levels one and two, in addition to core areas, as well as be provided with opportunities to go further.
Phase III involves in-class education and training for all students in the curriculum. Courses are designed and provided through systematic and organised orientation sessions for teachers, facilitators or counsellors.
Under Phase IV, job placements are offered, as well as job preparation, such as résumé and writing of application letters.
“It should be noted that the job placement/work experience comes at different times during the programme, in order to accommodate the volume of students and ensure that it is applicable to what is being studied,” the Minister says.
Senator Reid emphasises that key to all the objectives being pursued is the development of a National Service Corps, with a vision of providing an avenue for young people to develop themselves through nation building.
It will cater to persons 16-18 who are desirous of continuing education in a school-based environment.
He says the initiative will lead to a knowledgeable and adaptable workforce, with higher levels of general education associated with vocational training.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid