The Ministry of Education is working to bring an end to the days when secondary school children graduate without any qualifications, says Senator Dr. Rommel Springer.
The Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technology and Vocational Training, was making a case for those who graduate with skilled qualifications, which he believes are in some cases more valuable than the traditional academic qualifications.
Addressing the sixth graduation ceremony of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture’s (IICA) Barbados Youth Farm summer program 2018 at the L.V. Harcourt auditorium of Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Dr. Springer said even if students fail to satisfy the requirements of traditional subject areas, like the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)’s examinations, they must be placed in the best position to graduate with useful qualifications for the world of work.
During his feature address, he said, “It is the mission of the Ministry of Education to ensure that all students leave school well-trained with some form of certification. Whether that is Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), Caribbean Caribbbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ)
or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), we are going to ensure that you have something to show when you leave school.
“In the past, this [technical qualification] was seen as a type of second chance area if you didn’t excel in academics, but those days are long gone. Now you, the persons with technical skills are the drivers of this economy. You are just as important as any other player in the economy,” he said.
In fact, Dr Springer told the graduates that given the need for greater food security, agriculture and farming were among the most important areas in need of development.
“A number of these students who have come through the program have chosen agriculture or farming as a career. If they continue on this path, you can be assured that agriculture would be in good hands and by extension our food security as a nation, would be in good hands,” said Springer.
“We need to eat and those are areas that we cannot get away from. You cannot continue to import when we have young, brilliant, intelligent persons like you, who can feed us. You are especially important,” he added.
Dr Springer further assured graduates that CVQs are swiftly gaining the confidence and acceptance of key players in the business world. He also stressed that they should not feel restricted to the local market, but should take advantage of the opportunities afforded them by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) skilled certificate.
“So you can move freely and work anywhere in the Caribbean as long as you have this certification. In fact, you can work anywhere in the world because what you have here is relevant anywhere,” he said.
“Don’t limit yourself even though we would like to have you all stay here and build out our sector, which needs those types of human resources. We would still like to see you go out there and see you grow and help whoever you can out there in the Caribbean,” the senator urged.