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Private Sector Urged to Play a Role In Curriculum Development

Published:Thursday | July 16, 2015 | 7:00 AM

President of the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona, has made a call for the private sector to become involved in the development of the curriculum delivered in schools.

While delivering the keynote address at the 14th Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administrators (ACHEA) annual conference, Carmona said: "The time has come for the private sector - for example, the oil and gas industries and tourism - to have a substantial hand in designing the appropriate secondary and tertiary curricula. This will not only financially benefit the student and the university, but will ensure that students graduate with the skills and knowledge that will best service the needs of the respective corporate and private sector industries."

He went on to posit that the involvement of industry leaders in the education system will ensure that graduates will be workforce ready.

"It will then logically become important to reference higher education to a needs analysis of jobs required in our region. We must not continue to train students in particular fields of endeavour, who have to wait months and sometimes years after graduating to secure a job in their particular field. When we begin to train 100 nurses, teachers, engineers and doctors, provisions must be put in place to ensure that all graduates will be employed immediately on graduation," he argued.

labour-employment foresight

Carmona explained what he calls labour-employment foresight. This, he said, "will serve well to allow persons to prosper in areas of work best suited to their individual expertise and passion. In that regard, if we are to create a launch pad for real higher education learning in particular fields, we must look at the course component of the student in the primary and secondary schools. This is why I referred earlier to the value of injecting industry partners into the education system at all levels, and even in the primary school."

The former Supreme Court and International Criminal Court judge also argued for subjects dealing with tourism and the petroleum industries to be added to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) curricula.

"I have always been amazed - and I have stated this time and time again - that we in the Caribbean are tourism-based generally, and specifically, oil and gas-based in Trinidad and Tobago, yet there has been no specific subject in tourism or oil and gas taught at O levels or A levels, and to date, at [CSEC] or CAPE. Although these subjects are part of the tertiary education programme in some territories, when our young people enter the world of work in these fields, they must still go through extensive training because our Caribbean education system simply has not prepared them as adequately as we should from the ground up," he said.

The 14th ACHEA conference was held in Trinidad from July 9-11.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com