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Students must sit a TVET subject to graduate -Thwaites

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarrington Flemming

EDUCATION MINISTER the Reverend Ronald Thwaites has declared that his ministry is on target in its thrust to infuse technical and vocational education into the traditional high school system.

He said by the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, each student will have to sit a vocational subject to qualify for graduation.

Thwaites made the disclosure on Wednesday while bringing greetings at the Second International Conference on TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) in the Caribbean at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.

"During this academic year, we began the integration of traditional, and emerging technical and vocational subjects into the high school curriculum of 110 of 168 high schools, and our target is that by 2016-2017, every grade 11 student will have to sit a TVET subject in an external examination in order to graduate," said Thwaites.

The education minister further states that Jamaica's education system needs to be revamped to meet the requirements of a dynamic and ever-changing economic world system, noting that technical and vocational training was central to the system's success.

much-needed transformation

"Jamaica's education system is in the midst of a much-needed transformation, and the infusion of technical vocational education and training is a crucial element in this transformation. It is the crux of our investment as we try to develop our economy and the prospects of our people's lives," said Thwaites.

He said, the rationale behind the decision to promote TVET is to prepare the Jamaican workforce to seize the employment opportunities that increasingly are opening up in the technical and vocational fields.

"The Ministry of Education in Jamaica is now approaching the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, seeking to know what the skills that businesses, that investors, local and foreign, want and are needed to grow the economy and provide employment," said Thwaites.

"We have to turn the tables from the time when we educated people according to classical matrices, and said, 'You must employ them because we have trained them'," he added.

The education minister said it was, therefore, important for the education system to keep ahead of the investors and other potential business owners, to ensure that the required skill sets are in place to meet their employment needs.

"It is vitally important for the education system to be ahead of or in the same place as the investing prospects," said Thwaites.