TVET becoming a reality in Guyana

Dear Editor,
Let me remind all of us in Guyana that it is vital for all of us to embrace what UNESCO — that is, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — has to say and is doing regarding technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
The philosophy and advocacy are about connecting education to the fast-evolving world of work through the promotion of skills for work and life. It focuses on helping youths and adults develop the abilities, knowledge, values and attitudes they need to find decent work and contribute to building a peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world.
And why? This is because, worldwide, some 267 million young people aged 15-24 are still not in any form of employment, education, or training. We must therefore take note of the reality that TVET contributes to the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4): to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, and those of SDG8: for “decent work and economic growth”.
Now, Editor, I am saying all of this because we need to appreciate that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government is perfectly in order with its TVET drive across the country, as the country’s leaders are seeking to fill the skills gap in the current job market. Right now, it is in the process of procuring modern equipment to outfit some six new technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres that have recently been constructed.
Those centres would truly enhance skills building and enhancement in several places: Mabaruma in Region One (Barima-Waini); Fellowship in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); Beterverwagting in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); Hopetown in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Bartica in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), and St. Ignatius in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
Word from Education Minister Priya Manickchand is that “…when these centres are completed, Guyanese in the respective regions would be able to access courses in various areas, including agriculture science, furniture making, electrical installation, heavy-duty equipment operation, welding and fabrication, and plumbing, among other disciplines.”
After all, this is where the ‘blanks’ are, and these need to be filled if the “Government is going to develop the local workforce and build human capacity through the enhancement of education, to promote sustainable economic diversification in Guyana.”
If we are wise as a nation, we will give heed to the minister’s word when she explained that “…in the country right now, it’s the skills that are needed: the heavy-duty equipment operators; the people who are being hired by the construction industry, where they are earning sensibly and adequately to look after families. And so, we want to make sure that we can cater to that market, and prepare our people who wish to benefit from that sector.”
As per the UNESCO Mission, and in line with this thinking in Guyana, we must appreciate that “…technical and vocational education and training are crucial for the development of the world’s economy…(and) especially important for developing countries such as Guyana, so that the country can prepare for the skills demanded of the 21st century.”
According to the University World News, February 2024, “By contrasting the global education agendas under both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 2000-15) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015-30), it becomes evident that technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and skills development have taken on a more significant role within the SDG frameworks, especially in connection with SDG 4 (quality education).
Overall, then, by promoting TVET programs in Guyana, the Government is essentially ensuring that its economy would continue to grow and thrive in the 21st century. In fact, in today’s world, both current and prospective workers must acquire new skills and qualifications in order to adequately prepare for, and flourish within, future labour markets.

Yours truly,
Hargesh B Singh