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Skills development is high on the Education agenda

Education Minister David Andrew laid out the plans for skills training

The Ministry of Education has expanded skills training to be accessible to the primary school level with the hope that Education and skills development will be better grasped.

Minister of Education, David Andrew outlined the plan on Monday night while appearing on GBN’s “Beyond the Headlines” programme with host Colin Dowe and indulging in some of the transformative youth strategies brought forth by his Ministry.

Sen. Andrews pointed out that skills training has been done before at a very small measure and only some schools had access to it.

He said the model that was being used was one where there was a center where there was equipment to facilitate exposure to technical education and a limited number of schools got to access it in the 4th and 5th grades.

The senior government minister told the programme that expansion means that they have revised the structure to ensure that all primary schools have access to a center and where students between Grades 4 to 6 have access to some kind of introduction to skills education.

He believes that the earlier Grenada gets “the right mindset into our young people, the easier the task becomes to shape them into the ideal young person.”

“So we’ve expanded the access to skills education in our primary schools which we believe will translate into stronger uptake at the secondary level,” he said.

Minister Andrew made clear that there was a significant cost that came with it but he does not think it was a cost that was insurmountable.

He stressed that what has worked in their favour is the resourcefulness of the TIVET officers at the Ministry of Education as they have been able to use lots of substitutes and they are focusing on local material.

Due to the skills development training being of the introductory type, the minister explained that the sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment and machinery that will bump up the cost significantly will not be necessary.

“What we really want to do is to make sure they get exposure to it and so that they begin to see the possibilities that can exist without the stigma that traditionally has been associated with it,” he said.

According to Minister Andrews, the Ministry of Education has engaged with the youth relating to education over the past months and expressed that his vision for the youths is to see a skilled population of young people, a population who are ready to contribute, eager to work with the correct set of attitudes and values so that they can meaningfully contribute to the development of Grenada.

“We have done several things in education with the hope that all of these will contribute to the ideal young person we want to see – one who is more skilled, more well-rounded and ready to contribute to society’s development,” he said.

Minister Andrew disclosed that the Ministry of Education is trying to set the stage “for our youth to do things that they are interested in to ensure that the new programs will be sustainable.”

However, he was quick to add that as a society, our youths are faced with a situation where people (parents) try to “dictate their lives” but that skills development is not something to be pushed onto the youths as it is seen as something that no longer carries worth.

The Education Minister stressed that as an administration, Congress is keenly aware that there are “these non-traditional areas that pay a lot more than those of us who study in the purest sense of academia.”

“We spent our lifetime trying to make what some people make in one or two projects when they go into some of these areas,” said the senior government minister.

Minister Andrew went on to say that as a small economy “we have comparative advantages in some key small areas.”

“Although we cannot compete by size and we don’t have a wide range of natural resources, ” he expressed the view that “we should take advantage of what we do have which are small islands, big ocean states and we haven’t tapped into those.”

“So we are carefully listening and trying to tailor our curricular packages to meet those needs and to make sure that our young people are appropriately skilled and that we believe will allow for sustainability and developed interest in what we are putting forward,” he said.

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