The Daily Herald – CANTA brings professional development in TVET online



GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Caribbean Community CARICOM Professional Qualifications Assessors, Verifiers and Instructors (CVQs) now have access to online training to strengthen their capacity to ensure artisans meet the professional standards required to work in the market and the CARICOM Single Economy (CSME).

On Wednesday, April 20, the Caribbean Association of National Training Authorities (CANTA) launched an online training program on CARICOM professional qualifications, enabling continued professional development in technical and vocational education and training. (TVET) remotely.

Described as a turning point in the existence of CANTA, it is the result of a collaboration between the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the National Training Authorities (NTA) of Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago , the Caribbean Development Bank (CBD) and the CARICOM Secretariat.

Program Manager for Human Resources Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Laurette Bristol chaired the launch event. She praised the contribution of the outgoing president of CANTA, Pauline Whiteman, in advancing the historic development of CANTA, the umbrella organization for the development of TVET in the region.

She said Whiteman “served strategically to bring us to this moment of action, focusing on the visibility, sustainability and impact of CANTA as a regional institution.

CANTA’s current president, Henderson Eastmond, noted that the launch of the online CVQ training program represents “an important step in the work of CANTA”.

Explaining its importance, he said it would strengthen the work of NTAs who do not have sufficient resources to conduct face-to-face training, and strengthen the capacity of member states to implement CVQs.

This is an example of regional cooperation, he said, praising the course designers from the NTAs of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Grenada. He said training with the online program begins in May.

CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development COHSOD Chairman Jeffery Lloyd, Bahamas Minister of Education, praised CANTA for “having the insight to deliver courses that will provide valuable certification.”

He stated that the initiative fulfills one of the objectives of COHSOD to promote the development of education through the efficient organization of basic, advanced and vocational training and technical education and training institutions in the Community.

With the pandemic limiting face-to-face education, he stressed that virtual training is essential. Like the rest of the community, he said the Bahamas has also faced school closures and had to resort to online training. However, he noted, even before the pandemic, the Bahamian government was committed to the full digitization of all public schools. Efforts have progressed towards this goal with the distribution of tablets and the improvement of Internet connectivity in public and private schools, Minister Jeffery informed.

Welcoming the program, he said it had been developed recognizing that “steps must be taken to create opportunities for citizens to earn a living, to maintain a decent level of financial stability, to strengthen a positive identity and to ensure a greater level of self-confidence. value.”

Courses like this “provide an essential pathway to help establish a path for citizens to engage in lifelong learning and the lifelong acquisition of life skills,” he said. declared.

He congratulated the organizing team for providing the free online CVQ training program and commended the CBD for their support.

“It is imperative for the Region to provide initiatives that will help young people leaving school secure a stable future,” said Lloyd, noting that CARICOM is committed to retraining and reorganizing citizens so that they enter the workforce or consider entrepreneurial options.

Keynote speaker at the launch, LOC President Dr Asha Kanwar said the initiative offers hands-on skills online, combining distance education and supervised practice in the workplace.

She underlined the importance of assessors, verifiers and instructors in the implementation of the CSME, noting that a key element of the single market is the need for skills that allow skilled workers to move and work freely.

“NTAs play a crucial role in certifying workers to agreed standards. They in turn rely on trained assessors, verifiers and instructors to ensure quality and consistency across the Region, ”she said.

For TVET, Dr Kanwar added, the question has always been how to deliver hands-on training online, when assessment, verification and instruction require “real people demonstrating real skills”. However, NTAs have had to adapt to the use of technology for a number of reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

Dr Kanwar indicated that due to the use of technology, Grenada’s NTA is able to virtually train assessors in Antigua and Barbuda, without having to travel. She also welcomed the contributions of the NTAs of Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, who worked with COL to design and develop the digital resource, as well as to pilot and consolidate the program now available to reviewers, auditors and instructors.

Several cohorts of evaluators have already been trained in the use of the program during its pilot phase.

“It’s time to choose clicks over bricks,” said Dr Kanwar, stressing the importance of integrating technology for sustainability in education.

She shared about the success of COL’s workforce recovery program, using COURSERA, which offers 3,800 courses at 200 top universities around the world, including Ivy League universities in the United States. Universities license COL to offer courses in the Commonwealth, and she said 67,585 people are from the Caribbean. Among these participants, most of the students came from Barbados, Guyana, Grenada and Saint Lucia.

Prof Kanwar said she was happy to hear that the high usage of these CARICOM countries is due to high internet connectivity. In this context, she told Minister Lloyd it was heartening to hear her government’s efforts to strengthen digital infrastructure to facilitate distance education.

“COL is really excited to be working with you to support a new standard for the training of assessors, verifiers and instructors. COL hopes this in turn will inspire new models of blended skills development across the region for skills and sustainability, ”she said.

In charge of operations for education at the CBD, Dr Martin Baptiste also spoke at the launch and expressed the Bank’s financial support for the deployment of the program.

Describing this as timely, he said borrowing member countries have invested heavily in TVET to mainstream CVQs into the education sector.

“The training of assessors, verifiers and instructors is fundamental not only for the sustainability of CVQ delivery, but also to ensure that there are sufficient human resources to deliver programs in secondary schools, TVET institutions and projects as they are implemented, ”he said. .

He said the CBD had funded training cohorts in Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Guyana, and noted that the bank was “delighted” that the program is now virtual.

He said the CBD was willing to work with CANTA and COL to expand the program to as many people as possible, including its translation into French so that TVET professionals in Haiti can benefit.

The launch event included an unveiling of the digital platform by Francis Ruffin of the NTA Granada.

CANTA is an association of national training authorities and other TVET umbrella bodies in CARICOM states established in November 2003.

Launched in October 2007, the CVQs facilitate the movement of craftsmen and other qualified people at the CSME. Applicants must demonstrate competence to meet professional standards developed by practitioners, industry experts and employers.

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