The recent comments by Education Minister, Curtis King, is an admission that the ULP government has failed to implement an effective Technical, Vocational, Educational Training (TVET) program.
In an interview earlier this week, the Minister of Education called for the education system to be revamped, with a greater focus on TVET. He said there was an ‘urgent’ need for reform. He made these comments following a visit to Germany and the Netherlands with his OECS colleagues to explore their education systems.
Commenting on the statement by the Minister, NDP’s spokesperson for Education, the Honorable Terrence Ollivierre, said, “Finally the government has acknowledged what the NDP and experts have been saying for years that we need to ensure there is a joint approach between education and the world of work. It’s a pity that the Minister had to travel to Europe to find out what people here have been saying for years. Our educators are doing a fantastic job and deserve a government that takes action instead of just more talk.”
Leader of the Opposition and President of the NDP. Honorable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “While it is good to see the ULP finally acknowledging what we have been saying about the need to do more to help the young people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, This sudden awakening is a case of too little, too late. We have been proposing improvements for years on how to tackle this issue before it grew worse. The government ignored us. Now, the Minister has finally now acknowledged, we need to do more to ensure our young people acquire the skills needed to find fulfilling and sustainable jobs”
Dr Friday further stated, “The NDP’s commitment to the need for improvement of the education system has been set out repeatedly. Commitments were contained in the 2020 manifesto, and this has been reinforced by written questions submitted in parliament by MPs from the Opposition. I also did a National Address on education, which called for training facilities and support for TVET.
With four in ten young people currently unemployed in SVG and 37% of youth living in poverty the government has clearly failed to help young people. It is time to implement a plan that will truly benefit the young people of SVG. An NDP government would:
- Introduce a National Youth Guarantee, giving all young people the opportunity of a job, a training program or work placement.
- Improve the YES program by raising the basic rate to $650 and encourage businesses to match the payment, doubling the wage to $1,300.
- Provide skills training in local community centers, giving those pursuing careers in trades such as electricians or plumbers a place to learn their skills.
- Reduce the interest rate of student loan from 8.5% to 4.5%, or lower.
- Provide grants to young people opening businesses through our Development Bank and provide them with support through a new business park and innovation hub.