COMMENTARY: NEP VS Skills Training Program

My dear friends let us face reality.

During the Days of the Freedom Party Government, there was a very successful program known as the Youth Skills training program. There was also a Junior Secondary program which gave those who did not passed the Common Entrance Exam a second chance. These two programs worked very well with each other and gave students an option for furthering their education or an opportunity to learn a skill and then turn it into employment.

Today what do we have? Yes, the Youth Division Skills training program is still going on from what I was told. The truth is, it is not as effective as it used to be in the 80’s and 90’s. I believe one of the reasons why these two programs are not as successful today is due to the fact that the Government got rid of the JSP program and they introduced the so-called Skerrit Pass. To make things even more complicated the NEP program was introduced and it is just a copycat of the Skills training program.

We all have heard the frustration of Teachers since the Skerrit Pass was introduced. The fact is, it is not every Child that is educated or skilled to be able to perform well at High School academically. Some students are just simply more educated and have different skills and mindset than others. In other words, is not every child that was born to be a Doctor, a Pilot, a Farmer, or a Teacher. Since the introduction of the ‘Skerrit Pass’ there has been an increase of High School dropouts.

Now if you look at the NEP program, it is a Labour Party thing. People going to work under NEP with Labour Party outfits and boosting about how their party put them there to work because they voted them. Is this a program for all? At the last sitting of Parliament the minister responsible for the NEP is proud of saying the NEP created about 2,000 jobs. Seriously, is this something to be proud of after so many years? The fact is the program is not working well and will not help to sustain economic growth.

Now let’s look at the Skills training program. The program was designed to train young people in different skill areas to help them become independent so they could start their own small business to help create employment. I know of so many young people who did very well at the Skills Training program and are today builders, tailors, seamstress, chefs, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, computer experts, businessmen, and many more. Most of these people today have employees both in Dominica and abroad.

Now where do we go from here?

I would like to see the Government and the Youth Development Division work together to create new programs like farmer training for crop and livestock production, outboard engine training, weather expert training, disaster coordination training, and, very importantly, human resources and customer service.

Oh Yes please bring back the JSP program.

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  1. Chester
    June 1, 2017

    The NEP has been one of the most brilliant ideas introduced. After-all it’s a 3Rd world country. Have anyone seen or heard of any 3rd world country with sustainable this and that? They are all scrunting. You have to do to help poor people along the way. Mamo, Edo, Skeritt, none has or had the answer. There needs to be a mix of social services along with enabling business policies. All 3rd world countries are donor dependentry. Since the killing of banana sales and the sale of Domlec the Skills program And NEP are both brilliant ideas.

  2. rena
    May 31, 2017

    i think the NEP is a great programme and it has nothing to do with who I vote for. This programme has allowed many Dominicans to earn an honest living and put food in their households providing for their families etc. All countries have job Nep is no different. If you got a job from the NeP wouldnt you have taken it after being unemployed and frustrated for so long….of course yes

  3. %
    May 31, 2017

    Good commentary..I do agree that JSP was indeed a highly successful programme!

  4. Africo
    May 30, 2017

    I agree with everything that you say here, especially about the sad closure of the Junior Secondary Programme which was established by Dame Eugenia Charles with the assistance of UNESCO.

    But just to note that it was the UWP who shut down the JSP programme and replaced it with Universal Secondary Education which they thought would be politically more popular. Some said that it was because of Edison James’ long lasting hatred of Eugenia Charles for cutting his perks as head of DBMC that caused him to direct that anything that she had done must be destroyed (including the DFP engineers plan and site for the international airport etc). Dominican politicians can be a vicious set of people! But yes. Bring back the JSP.

  5. May 30, 2017

    This is a misleading commentary. You act as if this government has killed off the Skills Training Program! It is very much alive and well; a reported 240 graduates received their certificates just last week. Also, there was a 58% employment success rate in just one month. This government remains dedicated to the program, and continues to invest time, efforts and money so that our young people are properly trained and ready for the employment stage. The NEP is no substitute, rather a next step to gainful employment post skills training.

    Get the facts right!

  6. May 30, 2017

    Clearly, you’re one of those who didn’t pass the Common Entrance Exams. Your sentence structure is poor and grammar is appalling!

  7. Baffled
    May 30, 2017

    What a baseless commentary.

    The writer needs to do some research to
    get the facts of the programs he or she seeks to discuss or comment about.

    Additionally, nothing could be further from the truth, that the NEP and the Skills Training Programme are one and the same. Completely erroneous. It is clear that the writer is inferring and has based this writing on hearsay – ” Yes, the Youth Division Skills training program is still going on from what I was told…”

  8. Roger Burnett
    May 30, 2017

    I agree.

    In neglecting skills and creativity we are suppressing Dominica’s most valuable resource.

    Sadly, the focus on academic subjects begins at age nine in readiness for the questionable benefits of the Common Entrance Exam.

    • May 30, 2017

      Where is this suppression of creativity? The program has never been stopped or paused. It is going well, 35 years non-stop!

      • Roger Burnett
        May 31, 2017

        I applaud the Skills Training Program. My concern is the neglect of creative potential up to school leaving age.

        Research indicates that children are born with 98% the creative potential of genius. However, as they go through life, the figure falls dramatically. At the age of eight, the percentage has dropped to 32%. By the time they reach thirteen, peer pressure has brought it down to 10%, and by adulthood, conformity has reduced it to less than 2%!

      • Titiwi
        May 31, 2017

        Roger, the birth of boujon in our island is proof of this thesis.

  9. JBaptiste
    May 30, 2017

    SB you have just scratched the surface. NEP is nothing but a vote catching scheme keeping the beneficiaries in perpetual servitude to their masters. But the dilemma for the politicians is that although they know it’s not working they cannot stop it now because 2000 votes can decide any election.

    • viewsexpressed
      May 30, 2017

      In other words, it is a bobolist scheme to buy young people that patronising vulenerable people by a government with money to waste is a serious abuse and Skerrit should be ashamed of himsef. The Youth Minister and Chief Youth officer are unable to do anythinf about this. They should stand up and protest as professionals for intreferring in their departent. Skerrit must go, he is a nuisance to the youth, young peple, parents, families and unemployed,

    • Me
      May 30, 2017

      Not just a vote catching scheme but also to:

      – subsidise the labour costs of government friendly employers in the private sector and so boost their profits at the tax payers’ expense.
      – disguise the true extend of our unemployment rate.

  10. Dominican
    May 30, 2017

    I concur!

  11. Neutral
    May 30, 2017

    Freedom Party is Labor Party now. Stop that under the Freedom Party we were blah blah blah. We are moving forward, make a suggestion and move on. Dr. Skerrit will always welcome it if he sees it as a plus to DOMINICA

    • viewsexpressed
      May 30, 2017

      I do not understand your neutrality, what exacty are you saying. If it i that Skerrit is inept and irresposnblie then we concure. If it is he shold be kicked out, we furthr concur, if it is Skerrit Must go…we welcome it and we will kick him out. He is a failure. Corrupt labour

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