The education system in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) needs some revamping in order to make it more responsive to the developmental needs of the country.
And while local educators believe that some issues have been dealt with, more work needs to be done, including a focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Minister of Education Curtis King, speaking last Sunday during WE FM’s ‘Issue at Hand’ programme said local educators have come to the conclusion, when they look at the data, that there are still some things to be done with respect to access and equity, but they feel sufficiently confident that we have dealt fairly well with some of the contemporary issues.
“…And what we need today is to recognize the new society that we are now living in, and accept that the education system which was basically formulated to deal with a past society, the old society, it is no longer, let us say, totally relevant to the developmental needs that we have identified that would transform our society and enhance persons’ living standard,” King told listeners.
He said that we must recognize there needs to be changes to this system.
“…And all basically have come to the conclusion that the education system as we have it, especially in the English speaking Caribbean, is too much based on the traditional grammar school model that was utilized in England, with a heavy emphasis on academic training and there is in fact a weakness where skills are concerned,” said King.
He said the issue has been looked at, and a recent meeting in Antigua brought to the fore the need for action with some urgency to build on what they have been doing.
The Education Minister noted that he does not want persons to think that they have not been doing a lot in TVET.
Recently, King and 13 other educators from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean State (OECS) participated in a 10-day study store of TVET structures in Germany and the Netherlands and it was stressed that the education system here needs to adopt, and adapt, best practices or ideas in relation to the delivery of TVET.
But King also noted that what was learnt during the TVET study tour shows they cannot just replicate and expect it to work so there will be a lot of sharing of ideas and networking to make the necessary adjustments to deal with our system.
He said that during the tour, discussions with several stakeholders were held and contacts established during visits to the TVET training facilities.
“….The exercise was about seeing best practices and being exposed to different ideas and to see how we can adopt, and adapt best practices or ideas about the delivery of TVET in those countries in our own localized situation,” King said while noting that they are committed to transformation and making what they learnt about TVET relevant to our developmental needs or aligned to our education system to address our developmental needs.
King also added that the education system has come under a microscope because of the criticisms that there is this great mismatch between what is happening in school and the world of work.
He said many persons think that what is happening in the classroom is leading to difficulties when students transition into the world of work.
King, who has worked in the education sector at all levels; primary, secondary, tertiary and administration said that while we are not so badly off in the Caribbean, it is a matter which needs to be tackled with some urgency.