Reconceptualizing vocational education and training (VET) in Caribbean schooling

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Title: Reconceptualizing vocational education and training (VET) in Caribbean schooling
Author: Lewis, Theodore
Abstract: Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has had an uneven history in secondary education in the Caribbean, which is no different from the experiences of many developing and emergent countries. Many problems tend to beset the introduction of such subjects in the schools, including (a) high cost, (b) low status, (c) poor integration with the academic curriculum, (d) indifferent attention to teacher preparation, (e) tendency to be offered to low academic performers, (f) assessment and certification difficulties (low pass rates), and (g) programme maintenance issues. Over the decades, there has been a strong message from the World Bank that investment in TVET is a low funding priority, on the premise that such investment does not yield suitable returns. This paper contends that TVET has a vital role to play in Caribbean education, and in the development of the region. But the approach cannot be business as usual. There is need for new paradigms. The paper reflects on the record of TVET offerings in Caribbean schools, and offers some likely futures-alternative models-that might be considered in moving forward. A rationale for the models is provided, and strengths and weaknesses of each offered. Implications issuing from the proposal are set forth, in realms such as educational policy, teacher preparation, and curriculum development
Date: 2008

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