More than 5,000 students graduate from Centre of Occupational Studies
Just over 5,000 students from across the island graduated recently from the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), with another 399 obtaining their occupational associate degrees from the Centre of Occupational Studies.
Over 70 per cent of the students who graduated from the Centre of Occupational Studies are boys.
These two programmes, introduced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information as part of the seven-year high-school programme, enables students between the ages of 16 and 18 the opportunity to enrol in courses in over 200 secondary schools, community colleges, teachers' colleges, and private institutions across the island. Over 12,000 students are currently enrolled in the programmes for this school year.
Genesis of CAP
CAP was developed and first operated under the HEART Trust/NTA in 2010 as a pilot designed to give students who were leaving the secondary school with little or no qualification a second opportunity. The programme was then transferred to the MoEYI in 2013.
The CAP is now being operated under the K-13 strategy, which is the new policy direction of the ministry. CAP enables the last two years of the full seven year of high school programme.
The CAP was implemented as a means of actively engaging students leaving secondary schools either without the minimum qualifications required to access further education/training or the competencies to move on to the world of work.
Over the past four years, the performance of the CAP continues to show significant improvement and has provided students with labour-market/industry-driven skills and an opportunity to gain access to an occupational associate degree with the Centre of Occupational Studies. CAP within the Ministry has now become the additional two years of secondary school for students ages 16-18 years old for them to be given an opportunity to access a traditional or technical sixth form.
This move under the K-13 strategy is to ensure that all students within the target age group are given access to quality education and training opportunities so that they can become developmentally ready for higher education or work.
The CAP is offered along three pathways: the General, Technical and Traditional. The CAP Technical and Traditional programmes are offered across 110 centres for the 2016-2017 academic year to 133 for 2017-2018 academic year and now stands at 193 for 2018- 2019. This includes high schools, private skills-development centres, private/public tertiary institutions, and community colleges.
Students on the CAP receive skills training at the NVQ-J at Levels 1 and 2 and City & Guilds certification. Students who do not have passes in English A and mathematics at the CSEC level also sit the City & Guilds mathematics and english examinations in June each year. NVQ-J is done twice per year, with the main sitting being done in June. Students who are either deferred and/or are doing resits do so in December.
Also, students have been able to do CSEC resits of mathematics and/or English examinations for the first time under the Career Advancement Programme since the 2016/2017 academic year.
The Centre of Occupational Studies was established in July 2016. The model is one defined by an occupational-based training and certification system. Occupational certification is designed to bridge the gap between traditional and TVET education at the tertiary and secondary levels. This new model affords TVET graduates holding the NVQJ or CVQ (Level 2 and higher) to access the advanced occupational skilled programme.
Each programme carries college credits that are aligned with the National Qualification Framework complemented by the use of the University Council of Jamaica's credit-allocation/calculation formula.