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TVET and Science Audit Shows Poor Compliance in Schools

Published:Monday | February 15, 2016 | 2:00 AMAndre Poyser

Fact-finding audits on the state of technical vocational education and training (TVET) and science programmes in select schools have revealed several areas of non-compliance with regard to the requirements needed to streamline the implementation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in schools.

The individual school audits, obtained by The Gleaner through an access to information request, were conducted last year and showed that schools have the necessary infrastructure in place but have a number of areas to work on to ensure that TVET and science programmes can be effectively delivered.

The audit of Ardenne High School indicated that some labs were without fire extinguishers.

According to the audit, a robust maintenance system for machinery and equipment used in TVET and science programmes was not in place. Ardenne was cited as having insufficient hand tools for the number of students involved in practical-assessment activities. The school also lacked proper organisation of storage facilities for labelling, accounting, and managing in some of its TVET labs.

MISUSED FACILITIES

At the Haile Selassie High School, one of the three science labs was reported to have been converted into a classroom, and the second was being used to store table tennis equipment. For the one lab that was in use, the areas with gas outlets for bunsen burners and sinks were found to be non-functional.

The audit showed that termite infestation and accumulation of dust had diminished the structural soundness of the lab, no special area was provided for waste disposal, no preparation area was provided, and many stools utilised by students were broken and in need of repair. In the machine shop, only one of three centre lathes is working; the one drill press is non-functional, as well as the welding station and other machines in the shop.

The audit report raised concerns that students are not learning how to operate the machines because they are perpetually out of service.

The audit of Jamaica College found that electrical panels were not properly secured in the IT labs and could be accessed by students. Only one lab had a fire extinguisher and no maintenance plan was in place for equipment and tools. The lack of a maintenance plan for tools and equipment was also evident in the physics, biology, and chemistry labs. The audit also cited lack of adherence to occupational health and safety guidelines and a shortage of tools for the number of students involved in practical activities.

According to the audits of Kingston High School, Excelsior High School, Charlie Smith High, these schools suffered from a chronic shortage of tools and equipment and did not adhere to safety standards in the labs and workshops.