THE EDITOR, Sir:
Since independence, the growth of Jamaica's economy has been slow and sometimes on the negative side. The 1980s showed our best period so far, when agriculture, mining and manufacturing were at their highest.
Since then, we have not been able to capitalise on the drive to keep production stable. It's a proven fact that in order to create an economy that is production driven, various skill sets are needed. These skill sets can only be garnered through Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which most times are only offered by technical high schools, non-traditional high schools and skill-training institutions (HEART).
The traditional stigma related to technical and vocational subjects are aligned with low-performing students and academic subjects are aligned to high-performing students, must be removed. Many First-World countries such as Germany, New Zealand and Australia promote TVET as a part of mainstream education, while putting policies in place to parallelise it with general education (in some cases, it is not separated). It is quite distressing that, in 2013, moving towards First-World status by 2030, many school administrators of 'grammar schools' are still resisting the vision of creating 'one education system' that will cater to the needs of a dynamic and changing work environment. The latest Labour Market Research suggests that traditional jobs are becoming fewer in demand while non-traditional jobs that require high level of technical and vocational skills are on the increase.