Minister of Education Ronald Jones says technical education in Barbados is going through quiet change.
Jones placed this development within the context of what he described as serious and significant education reform which was taking place, he said, without the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation screaming about it.
Speaking at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic during a presentation of library equipment under the Skills for the Future Programme, Jones said he looked forward to the day when students at the institution, through the National Qualification Framework, would be able to earn a degree there.
“We have benchmarked every single qualification in this country. Everyone. So when you tell somebody you have a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) level three, that is very well equivalent maybe to an associate degree,” he said.
“So you don’t have to run and hide and say ‘well I only got a CVQ level 3. You get a CVQ level 4, your chest is going to get even higher because you worked to achieve it and nobody dumbed down the teaching and the learning. You can sing like any sparrow on an electric pole,” he added.
The Skills for the Future programme is an initiative developed by Government and facilitated through a US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. Its major aim is to improve the quality and relevance of secondary education and the effectiveness of technical and vocational education and training in Barbados, thus ensuring the island meets the demands of the labour market and the skills requirements for the 21st century.
Jones said the contribution for the donated equipment, including a laminator, photocopier, executive chairs and
a circulation desk, was estimated at
BDS$84 000. He urged students to always observe the rules of the library when they enter, and to leave any unruly behaviour outside as they acquire knowledge.
“I want you to use the equipment well to support your learning, to support the enhancement of your learning, and to illuminate who you are out there in the wider society,” the minister said.