Guyana has been cleared for the issuing of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and this has been hailed by Minister of Education, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
The Minister was at the time addressing stakeholders at the launching of Guyana’s Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), accreditation towards Caribbean Vocational Qualification, yesterday at the Pegasus Hotel.
In his address, Roopnaraine described the event as a historic one in the delivery of education in the Caribbean particularly in technical and vocational education.
He said, “In the case of Guyana, we are marking the award of CVQ as an integral part of the country’s qualification framework even at a time when the subject is still the subject of a consultancy, being undertaken for the National Accreditation Council which is mandated to develop that framework.”
He went on to challenge the CTVET to embrace its additional function of promoting and propagating the technical and vocational education and pushing back the stigma that has negatively impacted entry into the technical and vocational fields.
This stigma, he said, has deprived industries of the quantum and quality manpower that is required for the future of the country’s development, thus, the CTVET’s work is important.
“Worthy of note is that CVQs are coming on the heels of previous accreditation of national vocational qualifications thus providing for the integration of our vocational and technical educational systems into a wider Caribbean system of technical and vocational education,” the Minister added.
Moreover, Roopnaraine stated that the implication of such developments is far reaching in the development of CARICOM since the movement of skills would be easily facilitated and accomplished as all of the countries will be operating within one human resource development system.
Having stressed the importance of the work done by the CTVET, the Minister urged the council to stay wary of becoming complacent and wallowing in its considerable achievement to date since there is still more work to be done.
“There is need for much more work to ensure that the entire spectrum and all levels of vocational and technical levels of educational training, examine and respond to the pros and cons of seeking CVQ qualifications in the future,” Roopnaraine said.
“Other sectors of education system will be challenged to work with CTVET in attempts to ensure that there is articulation between and among the various levels of the education systems and that one integrated qualification framework is realized,” he added.
Acknowledging Guyana’s recent discovery of commercial quantities of oil, chairman of the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA), Dr. Wayne Wesley admonished the Minister to ensure that it redounds to the benefit of the people of Guyana.
Wesley offered the suggestion that as Guyana awaits the actual process of oil extraction, the time should be used to prepare country’s human resources to take advantage of the opportunities that will soon be presented to them.
“Now that you have built this institution, the Guyana TVET council with the requisite capacity to be able to develop competency standards. You have your neighbouring country, Trinidad which has been in extraction for a while. Perhaps you need to partner with them on how to develop the CVQ to train your people to take advantage coming through this oil extraction. We should not be importing workers…if any country wants to advance it must place high importance on the development of its human resources,” the chairman noted.
Meanwhile, offering brief remarks on behalf of CARICOM, Director of Human Development, Myrna Bernard explained that it was at the 29th Heads of Summit meeting in Guyana earlier this year that both Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were given authorization by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) to award the CQV.
This, she said was done based on recommendations made on behalf of the countries by CANTA.
With this authorization, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have joined five other CARICOM countries, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada, in awarding a regional qualification, the CVQ to persons who have satisfied the stringent technical and other competency requirements associated with specific occupation.
“Over the past 20 years, technical and vocational training specialists in CARICOM have worked together to reorient our training systems from the supply driven paradigm to that one which programmes are determined by the supply of the trade; one that is demand driven, one that is addressing specific requirements of the work place,” she said.
Therefore, the development of occupational standards and curricula in this instance results from collaborative exercises between employers and trade providers, Bernard stated.
She further pointed out that there exists rigorous procedures to ensure that the candidates for certification are capable of demonstrating the competence required for the specific level of certification.
Thus, Guyana’s accreditation came only after an extended evaluation process which examined systems in detail to ensure its readiness and capacity to uphold the integrity of the regional body.