Technical education is the future of our country.
President of the Dominica State College (DSC), Dr. Donald Peters has said that he strongly believes that.
Speaking at a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Skills and Best Practices in Construction for small contractors and suppliers’ certificate ceremony, Dr. Peters encouraged children and adults to be involved in technical education.
Peters said the first step in building a nation is to get people to acquire skills that can help in nation-building.
“The second step is after they have done that, send them to the Dominica State College…and the third step is to teach them how to make good decisions, make a lot of money and put out a lot of good work which is what this programme was all about,” he added.
“Always do things the right way,” Peters advised the participants of the TVET training programme. “Do not cut corners when the customer gives you his money to fix his house. That is important.”
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, like Dr. Peters, recently highlighted the significance of technical education when he called for greater emphasis to be placed on skills training in schools.
In an interview after the release of the 2019 CSEC results, Antoine expressed his concern that the focus on formal education at the expense of skills training, will continue to negatively impact the regional economy.
“I am deeply concerned about our obsession with subjects rather than skills. I find it difficult to accept that we could go on and on for bragging rights about who gets the most subjects in our schools, and not worry about how we are connecting with the labour market, and what these children are going to do… when they finish school, because what I see before me is rising unemployment, especially amongst our youth,” he stated. “In many of our countries, the youth unemployment rate is double the national average.”
The Governor advised that educational resources must be properly channeled in order to provide youth with the right skills required for the modern environment.
“When you look at the skills required for the twenty-first century, they’re skills in the area of emotional intelligence—the soft ones. Then there is coding, and there is cognitive reasoning, and those are not skills that are being sufficiently addressed in our school system,” he explained. “And what is bothersome is that not only are we setting up our children for frustration, but then when you look at the region, the average spent on education is actually above the average in developing countries, but the issue is really where are we channeling those resources— the quality of the expenditure.”
Antoine noted that in order for the development of the region, we must first “change the dynamic in respect to skills” by taking an inter-disciplinary approach.
“… To discuss the whole evolution of skills in our region, at this time, in our school system, it has to be a discussion that goes beyond education. It has to involve economists, it has to involve private sector, it has to involve civil society, and ultimately, obviously, it has to involve our youth…” he said. “And the truth is, more than just teaching or training for twenty-first century skills, is a mindset that… requires us to have that agility where we continue to re-skill.”
He called for the youth to “keep skilling and re-skilling” by making a “commitment to lifelong learning.”