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.