Barbados is below the world skills standard. This was revealed by Executive Director of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) council Henderson Eastmond.
“It is time to revisit our national TVET policy both in the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Education. We have to look at things differently, because if countries are going to push level one and level two in the [secondary] schools and we are now pushing level one and level two in tertiary institutions then you can see where we would be falling,” Eastmond said Friday during a ceremony at the TVET office in Hastings, to present participants in the World Skills Competition with their certificates.
The Executive Director said that Barbados failed to place at the competition held in Abu Dhabi last month, which resulted in its classification as falling below the standard along with 11 other countries. However, he noted that this was a problem throughout Western countries.
“Western countries, with the exception of Switzerland and Brazil, did not feature at all. It says something about our educational system, we have a traditional educational system that supports academic above the technical skills,” Eastmond said.
“These countries like Korea have invested heavily in their TVET systems and the fact is that when people leave school they can leave school with a technical diploma equivalent to what the polyclinic is putting out.”
Eastmond believes that skills and better training can help to maintain the standard of living in the country.
“We in Barbados have a high standard of living that we want to maintain and that shift to technology and higher levels skills is the way that we want to do it, according to the economic recovery plan.”
Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer Suckoo who was also in attendance at the ceremony said she agrees with Eastmond’s assessment and told those gathered that Government must look at the Cabinet level to address the problem.