PR – The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture launched the TVET Expansion Programme for Primary Schools on May 9 at the Woburn Methodist School in St. George under the theme, TVET: “Essential Skills – Fostering Inclusion, Lifelong Learning and National Development”.
The National TVET Policy and strategy, which has received preliminary approval by Government and the expansion of skills training in primary schools, is one of its transformative actions aimed at closing the skills gap between the skills needed by employers and the lack of those among prospective employees. The introduction of skills at the primary school level is intended to ignite an interest in TVET.
In his feature presentation at the launch, Minister for Education Sen. the Hon. David Andrew, spoke of the Government’s TVET strategy. Hon. Andrew explained that a skills mapping initiative will determine the best way to bridge the skills gap. He spoke of plans to introduce a sixth form; to propose a TVET subject as part of the deliverables for the ideal secondary school graduate and, among selectschools, to have centres of excellence from the secondary level.
Hon. Andrew said, “This administration is committed, understanding the importance that technical and vocational education carries, we are committed to doing what it takes to meaningfully address this gap and provide sustainable and meaningful opportunities for all our people.”
Chief Education Officer, Angella Finlay described the launch as “a milestone in a makeover journey.”
She said they have held consultations with groups of key stakeholders, leading to the development of a National TVET Policy. There has also been collaboration with the staff of the Grenada National Training Agency to develop a strategic paper for TVET expansion; as well as deep-dive engagements with principals and TVET teachers in selected primary schools and audits of technical and vocational facilities within selected primary schools.”
Deputy Executive Officer at the New Life Organisation, Lorna Douglas, expressed NEWLO’s endorsement of the TVET Expansion Programme for Primary Schools. In a presentation titled “TVET as a Pathway to Employment”, she highlighted NEWLO’s gains in improving employability via skills training.
“Since its inception in July 1984, NEWLO opened its doors with the first cohort of 40 students, 33 boys and 7 girls in 10 skill areas. In 2023, almost 40 years later, almost 6000 young men and women have been trained in 18 technical skills areas.”
TVET at the primary school level is offered at the Grenville Skills Training Centre and five primary schools. Details of the expanding roll-out were revealed in a video presentation during the launch. Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer for Curriculum Deanne Francis-Thomas, said the plan is to ensure that more schools take advantage of the programme.
She indicated that, “Each of the five primary schools has two teachers – one for woodwork and the other for home economics. We at the Ministry of Education believe that these spaces are grossly underutilised. We have endeavoured to bring more schools on board”.
“We are now bringing in St. Joseph’s Catholic – Morne Jaloux, as well as south St. George Government” she further stated.
During the ceremony, the Minister for Education presented a sewing machine to the Principal of the Woburn Methodist School, Richard Japal. This is intended to benefit the skills training efforts at that institution.
Japal shared on his school’s positive experiences with skills training and expressed thanks to the Government of Grenada and Ministry of Education for the TVET expansion programme. “I presume that we all may agree that this initiative will surely transform the lives of many of our young people and their families and, by extension, our country” he said.
The commencement of the full roll-out of the TVET Expansion Programme for Primary Schools will take effect during the Michaelmas term in September 2023.