A very warm welcome to you at our Fifth International Conference on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Caribbean. We are indeed grateful to our partners and sponsors for coming on board to make this event a successful and memorable one. Special thanks to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Jamaica; The University of the West Indies; The University of Technology, Jamaica; HEART NSTA Trust; UNESCO; CDB; IDB and ILO who have partnered multiple times in delivering our biennial TVET conferences in the Caribbean since 2012. To our local and international speakers, presenters and delegates, a very warm welcome.
In the Caribbean Region, the importance of TVET as a key ingredient in the growth of our economies cannot be overstated. This has been acknowledged by various stakeholders who are accountable for economic growth and development. As partners and sponsors, we continue to collaborate on critical issues in TVET so that we can achieve our developmental targets as well as expanding our research agenda. The previous four (4) conferences held in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019 achieved significant outcomes such as: the formulation of policies to drive TVET; the establishment of the UWI-UNESCO Montego Bay declaration on TVET which influenced development of the Shanghai Consensus on TVET in 2012; guidance by way of a communique on the relationship between STEM and TVET, suggested ways for integration; and again by way of a communique, advice on the value of TVET for sustainable regional development. The fourth conference interrogated TVET principles, strategies and work practices and provided information for the TVET sector by way of a communique to stakeholders.
This 5th International Conference on TVET in the Caribbean is unique. The uniqueness can be attributed to the context within which the conference will take place. Firstly, it is taking place in the midst of a pandemic and secondly it is being delivered virtually. It provides an opportunity for us to interact from the comfort of our homes and at the same time maximize our participation in the various segments of the conference. The theme “TVET – Creating Opportunities in a Global Pandemic” provides several opportunities for TVET practitioners to engage in the creation of new approaches for training and work practices. This pandemic has highlighted the urgency for TVET to address the myriad of emerging jobs that require workforce preparation. It is hoped that engaging in this discourse will enable TVET practitioners to make declarations in regards to training in this “new norm” and make recommendations to facilitate training in the future.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the planning committee. Special thanks to our conference coordinator and programme chair Dr. Carole Powell, administrative assistant Mrs. Dorcia Watson and sub-committee chairs for their hard work and effort in planning this event. As partners and sponsors, we continue to collaborate on critical issues in TVET. I hope that you will interact, learn, enjoy and benefit immensely from this our 5th International Conference.
On behalf of the School of Education I wish to welcome our distinguished panel of presenters and worthy participants to the Fifth International conference on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Caribbean. Since the last conference at the Hylton Hotel in Rose Hall, Montego Bay in 2019, the world has taken a dramatic turn because of the spread of COVID-19; but despite the pandemic, we have been able to navigate our way to make this year’s conference a virtual reality.
The importance of TVET to the generation of growth and development cannot be overemphasized as we engage in nation-building in the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 2010 the School of Education, Mona has been contributing to the development of researchers and educational leaders in the field of TVET through its Master of Arts (MA) programme in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Workforce Development which was developed by our present Conference Chair – Professor Halden Morris. To date we have had over eighty graduates from that programme. In some respects, the first TVET conference had its genesis in the MA programme and has morphed into what it is today, an international biennial conference rooted in the Caribbean.
In a public lecture given in 2017, Prof. Halden Morris reminded us that TVET requires ‘deliberate interventions to bring about learning which would make people more productive in designated areas of economic activity’. We must be deliberate in moving forward even though COVID-19 has presented several challenges linked to education, economic sectors, occupations, and specific work tasks that most of us have never encountered before in our lifetime. This conference under the theme - TVET: Creating Opportunities in a Global Pandemic will explore possibilities for sustaining TVET in the context of a pandemic and will examine issues such as innovative strategies for delivery of TVET, digital skills required for TVET delivery and industry engagement in TVET during a pandemic, among others.
On behalf of the School of Education I wish to thank our local and international Partners who have consistently supported this worthwhile and significant venture - The Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Jamaica; The University of the West Indies; The University of Technology, Jamaica; HEART NSTA Trust; UNESCO; Caribbean Development Bank, (CDB); International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Special thanks as well to our conference sponsors, Halston Limited, MIC institute of Technology and ABC Electrical Sales as well as our conference exhibitors Deltac Trading, National Supply and The National Council for Technical and Vocational Training (NCTVET).
Finally, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the conference organizers and commend them for their resilience, commitment, and sheer fortitude in helping to make this 2021 TVET conference a reality, despite all the challenges being faced even as we gather in this virtual space. I know many, if not all the participants, especially those from outside of Jamaica miss the fellowship of co-mingling among delegates and participants that conferences offer, as well as the warm Jamaican hospitality, but we are grateful that we can continue the activities of this vital area, for national and economic development of our region.
I wish the organizers, presenters, and participants a rich, fulfilling and rewarding conference and look forward to the recommendations that will emerge.
As Coordinator and Programme Chair, I personally welcome each of you to the initial international on-line conference on TVET in the Caribbean. I hereby assure you that this conference will be no less impressive, useful and of great value to our TVET pursuits during and after the foreboding COVID-19 and its lingering variants.
We are honoured to be at your disposal throughout the three (3) days of conferencing, but encourage you nevertheless to seek guidance from the detailed conference programme in your virtual kit, which also includes important tips on how to efficiently navigate the platform. At this time, it is urgent that we bring to the fore the “New Norm” of world practices, procedures and programmes, and contemplate the implications for TVET. It is thus important that you try to attend and participate in as many sessions as you can, and do not miss the closing session on Friday May 14, when subsequent to the initial feed from Rapporteur-in-Chief, we shall all by way of chats contribute to the drafting of another historic communiqué, in pursuit of a template to guide the action for TVET in the region and beyond. A one-hour chat bay will be open for networking each day, enjoy!
Welcome!! We missed you.
We are happy to have you participate in the 5th TVET Conference. What is remarkable is that this conference is online and is the first experience of its kind for us. As the logistics team, we have had to learn together to make it possible. We have thirty five (35) sessions in addition to plenaries from Jamaica, the region and countries such as Iran, India and Finland.
Your participation is an indication that we are all committed to advocating for technical vocational education and training (TVET) as an agent for workforce development. As we grapple with the current COVID – 19 pandemic we are all concerned with the impact that this is having on the lives of our children and young people as we seek to provide quality education and training. We applaud our teachers and instructors who navigate through the challenges of online learning to continue to engage our children and young people.
I hope that as we engage with this experience over the three days, we will share knowledge, together generate solutions that will help to provide quality TVET, and that we will be truly inspired to reposition TVET to transform lives and prepare our young people and adults for an uncertain future.
From all of us on the logistics team, we look forward to your participation and engagement in this new virtual experience.