Competency certificate programme for 16 more secondary schools

The  Secondary Competency Certificate Programme (SCCP) is to be introduced in 16 more schools from September in a move by the Ministry of Education to stem school drop-outs and ensure secondary school students are adequately prepared for the world of work.

The programme taught in Grade Nine is currently offered in 35 secondary schools and 10 practical instructional centres, the Ministry of Education  stated in a press release.

The initiative introduced in 2009 is vocational in nature, and offers  students an alternative pathway in secondary education, utilizing the Competency Based Modularisation (CBME) approach to education and the Criterion Reference Approach (CRA) in delivery.

Students’ performance in the SCCP, the release explained,  is measured against specific occupational standards directly related to industry and they are required to develop competency in a number of   skills relevant to their studies. Competency is defined as a skill performed to a specific standard under specific condition, the release informed.

The Grade Nine students and those at the practical instructional centres are trained to the status of a level one worker.

Generally, the programme is one year in duration but could be expanded to meet the needs of students.

The programme among other things aims to develop technical competencies and enhance functional literacy and numeracy at Grade Nine; equip students with citizenship, life and vocational skills to support national development; expose students to a modularised and vocational career education with emphasis on supervised work experience, work attachments and/or work related projects; develop good occupational, environmental health and safety practices in schools; and instill in students problem solving and creative thinking skills through project work.

Under the programme, students are offered four core subjects: Language and Communication, Mathematics, Integrated Science and General Studies and the choice of one option in Agriculture Science, Industrial Technology, Home Economics and Visual Arts.

Students on completion of the programme receive a certificate of competence from the Education Ministry. These students can move to a more advanced level of the programme in Grade 10 and eventually write the TVET subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and move on to higher studies. Students who do not complete all of the requirements for certification are granted a transcript indicating the areas where they have demonstrated competencies.

The Ministry of Education in its five-year strategic plan intends to introduce the programme to 70 secondary schools by 2013.

According to the release, the changes brought about by the SCCP have impacted greatly on headteachers, school administrators, teachers and instructors at the practical instructional centres.

They are required to closely monitor the delivery of the programme, students’ progress and their acquisition of the necessary competencies. Through the utilisation of the CBME, the vocational education and training offered conforms with Caricom occupational standards for jobs in industrial agencies.

In this way, the vocational education being offered to students is planned and executed to be relevant to the needs of the work environment.  The Education Ministry in an effort to ensure students acquire the relevant competencies in the core subjects and the option offered to them has ensured that  teachers who are delivering the programme are adequately trained, the release noted.

Meanwhile, schools have been equipped with tools, equipment, machines and other materials necessary for students to develop the relevant skills and competencies required to complete their training modules.

And the  career choices of the students are supported by their placement in the technical and vocational areas which reflect their immediate needs and opportunities in the world of work, the release concluded.

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