TVET council should say exactly how its training programme works

Dear Editor,

It was interesting to see the full page display by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in SN of August 26, 2018.

At first glance it makes impressive reading, except that it does not provide a substantive recital of its actual operational mode, and consequent effectiveness. There is no mention as to whether or not it is appropriately manned for instance, at critical levels of the Secretariat.

For, amongst others, it should be the particular concern of private sector employees as to how exactly the programme of Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) works, and the rate of success achieved so far. How in fact does a trainee progress through a series of learning experiences ‘at his/her own pace’, and how is such a programme evaluated as matching the more structured programmes conducted by our recognised technical training institutions?

But even setting aside this query for the time being, it certainly seems relevant to enquire whether the programme as conceived has ever focused on any particular target group or groups in the public service in which the following categories exist:

Other Technical and Craft Skilled

Semi-skilled Operatives and Unskilled

In the 10 Regional Administrations alone Semi-skilled Operatives and Unskilled make up merely twenty one (21%) the total population of 11,317 employees, as shown in the most recent Budget statistics. This involves an increase from 2177 in 2017 to 2360 in 2018.

In addition, eight of the more populous Ministries in the Government show persistent increases in the category of Semi-skilled Operatives and Unskilled. These are as follows:

It is not as if the assumption is that all personnel involved are necessarily in trades; but it does invite curiosity about which agency, if any, conducts the grading system which distinguishes ‘craft skilled’ from ‘semi-skilled’ operatives; and how explicit is that grading system.

So that having regard to TVET’s Mission to provide: ‘a Guyanese workforce with requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes contributing to increased productivity and economic development’, and its Vision: ‘to meet the changing demands of global competitiveness’, it now appears to be a critically opportune time for the Council to be hyperactive enough to relate to the agencies listed in the advertisement to develop a strategy, and implement programmes relevant to the Competency Based Education and Training (CBET). These are:

Ministry of Public Health

Ministry of Education

Ministry of Agriculture

Private Post-Secondary Institutions

Ministry of Natural Resources & the Environment

Ministry of the Presidency; Department of Social Cohesion

Guyana Sugar Corporation

It may well be that such an initiative has already been considered and is in effect; but it would be most useful if a likely proportion of semi-skilled operatives were provided with specific information about moving upward into the category of Technical and Other Craft Skilled in the Public Service – all in consonance with the Vision of meeting the changing demands of global competitiveness.

Yours faithfully,

E.B. John

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