LETTER TO THE EDITOR – January 28, 2020 — Let’s give credit where credit is due. For many of us, to often we have been disappointed by empty promises made by politicians. This very moment, I’m proud to be a Turks Islander. The recent announcement of TCI first National vocational technical school slated to open in September 2020 is brilliant.
Honorable Karen Malcolm, minister of education should be commended for her tenacity on this breakthrough. There has been previous dialogues of such initiative but it never matured. To my amaze, it appears the government is starting to listen to the cry of its people.
I’m elated, and this will certainly be a win for this administration, all to the benefit of our people. Progress such as this, is an extremely important step in the right direction.
It’s a two prong approach; Not only will it help to drive economic development, but also a work force for various businesses. Many of our youth are so gifted in different areas, and may have specific occupational career goals in mind. In such cases, they are better off at a vocational school than at traditional college or university and this offers them an alternative to secondary education.
If you look at most developed countries, secondary education has been a very effective tool with helping to build their economies. In order to make vocational education and secondary schools most successful, electing courses of study relevant to our long term growth and development will be of paramount importance.
Guidance counselors will need to identify potential students early in their last year of high school so they can make a smooth transition. The proposed courses being offered make sense, and should be geared toward students specific skill set and shortcomings. There were two critical areas of study I noticed that were not listed. Agriculture and marine mechanics. Providing students with a much greater spectrum of vocational courses could capture a larger audience.
For example; with the export of marine products being one of our bread and butter sector, the lack of opportunity for marine mechanics in particular, will be a huge missed opportunity. Also, if we are contemplating a path to future independence from Britain, why not educate our people now on agriculture natural resources and land management.
For the past few years now, law enforcement have been searching for solutions to combat our growing violent crime rate.
Initiatives such as this, is where a strong public/private partnership could be developed to include the government offering tax incentives for employers hiring ex-cons after completion of such courses.
There is also a proposed youth development center to be opened in Grand Turk. This coupled with the technical school, certainly lays the framework for helping to deal with crime reduction, prison recidivism rate and delinquency.
As I mentioned in previous articles, there is no silver bullet to solving our complex crime problem. We have to continue to take a holistic approach. Like the old cliche, how do you walk a thousand miles? “ one step at a time”.
Ed Forbes,Concerned citizen of GT