Hutton, Disraeli ; Morris, Halden
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Preparing the workforce for the 21st Century: The Jamaican experience, in mainstreaming Technical and Vocational Education in the Caribbean.
Caribbean Journal of Education
Date of Publication
21 - 45
The paper begins with an analysis of the impact of vocational education in Jamaica over the past 30 years. A critical look was taken of the two periods of major interventions in Jamaica: the introduction of the grades 10 and 11 programme in 1974 and the introduction of the HEART Trust 1982. The article advances the view that vocational education in Jamaica has failed to have the required impact in preparing a workforce to respond adequately to issues of employment, productivity and efficiency. A comprehensive analysis was done of the workforce, based on data provided by STATIN, to determine the nature of the workforce and where training delivery should be focused. The analysis shows that (a) over 75 per cent of the workforce reported that they have no training for the jobs they now occupy, and (b) the professional group of employees has the highest percentage of persons reporting that they have been trained in the last year for the jobs they now occupy. The paper proposes that training has to be refocused and the HEART Trust/NTA must start to emphasize work-based training to address the performance problems of the workplace. For the Ministry of Education, the emphasis must be on the provision of a basic education that will facilitate effective training and preparation for the workplace. In addition, for technical education to have significant impact on preparing the workforce, it has to be delivered more efficiently in fewer schools. The specific proposal is for an expanded core of technical schools numbering about 58, or 40 per cent of the present secondary schools, which would be converted into technical/vocational institutions. Businesses, for their part, have to increase their role in education and training by using modalities such as apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. It is the collaborative role of all three entities - HEART Trust/NTA, the Ministry of Education and businesses - that will ensure that vocational education will make the strides necessary to strengthen the Jamaican economy.....