TVET at the core of Sustainable Regional Development agenda in the Caribbean

The Third International Conference on TVET in the Caribbean was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from the 10-12 May 2017. The conference aimed to provide a forum for sharing innovative practices from a diverse set of stakeholders in the Caribbean including governments, academia, industry and development partners. The Caribbean TVET sector is geared towards countering diverse challenges that include a shortage of skilled workforce,skills mismatch in the labor markets, high youth unemployment, emigration of skilled labor, and climate and environmental vulnerability.

A number of important changes have been registered in the TVET sector in in the Caribbean, which has led to strengthening of TVET policies and regulatory frameworks in a number of countries. These include a regional shift towards more systematic recognition of skill qualification at both national and regional levels, improvement in quality, and inclusiveness, amongst others.

The Conference, the third since its inception in 2012, focused on the theme of TVET for Sustainable Regional Development this year. This theme was chosen with the TVET in realizing the Sustainable Development Agenda]. The Conference was organized under leadership of the University of the West Indies, and the support of the Government of Jamaica through their Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the University of Technology, Jamaica; the HEART Trust, National Training Agency (HEART NTA), Jamaica, UNESCO, British Council, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Petroleum Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago.

The inaugural session of the conference saw the participation of Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Ruel Reid]; Professor Stafford Griffith, Director of School of Education University of West Indies, and representatives of partner organizations including Ms. Katerine Grigsby, Director and Representative of UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean.

One of the key topics discussed at the conference was the financing of TVET. Preliminary findings from the review of TVET financing in the Caribbean were presented by Mr. Borhene Chakroun - Chief of UNESCO’s Section for Section for Youth, Literacy and Skills Development. The review seeks to understand different sources of funding for TVET and steer innovation and reforms in TVET.

Integration of TVET in General Education was one of the focused areas of the discussions, especially as Jamaica was currently going through the process of ensuring better linkages between TVET and general education at all levels.

Another recurring topic under discussion was the digitalization of the economy and how the TVET sector should react. UNESCO-UNEVOC, in addition to introducing its work related to the UNEVOC Network in a plenary session, also facilitated a session on “Preparing Teachers for the 21st Century TVET; technology impacts on teaching and learning”. Around 150 participants gathered and more than 100 papers were presented and discussed during the intensive three day event. Further details can be obtained here

14 Member institutions of UNESCO-UNEVOC Network from 11 countries in the Caribbean participated in the Conference. A consultation meeting of the UNEVOC Caribbean Network was also held prior to the Conference, attended by UNEVOC Centres and representatives of interested partner organizations, to explore ways to enhance engagement of UNEVOC Centres in the Caribbean and identify mutual areas of interest, further exchange and collaboration.

List of UNEVOC Centres participating at the conference

1. Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE)

2. The University of The Bahamas (UB)

3. Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council (TVET Council), Barbados

4. Employment Training and Education Services, Ministry of Education Youth Sports and Culture (ETES), Belize

5. Isaiah Thomas Secondary School (ITSS, Dominica)

6. Grenada National Training Agency (NTA)

7. T.A. Marryshow Community College, School of Applied Arts and Technology (TAMCC / SAAT), Grenada

8. Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), Guyana

9. HEART Trust, National Training Agency (HEART NTA), Jamaica

10. University of Technology, Jamaica

11. St. Kitts and Nevis TVET Secretariat (SKNTVETC)

12. Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour (MoE, HRD), Saint Lucia

13. Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Curriculum Unit, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

14. Bureau for Technical and Vocational Education (BTVE), Suriname

page date 2017-05-24

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