by Donella Hosten
Grenada’s National Training Agency (NTA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, on Tuesday, 31 October 2017, recognised a number of teachers who successfully completed the Assessor Training Programme.
NTA Coordinator of Quality Assurance, Frances Ruffin, congratulated the participants of the programme, as she highlighted one of the mandates of Caricom and its regional workforce. “One of the mandates of Caricom is the harmonious development of a regional workforce, so as to increase the level of productivity and profitability of our people, and also to facilitate the free movement of workers throughout the region.”
According to Ruffin, the NTA, which was established in 2009, was awarded Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) granting status by the Council for Human and Social Development in 2003. With this status, the NTA was able to certify over 3,000 Grenadians from 2011 to present. “As the body responsible for certifying the Grenadian workforce, out of school youth and unemployed persons, the NTA is extremely happy that the Ministry of Education in its wisdom, has introduced CVQ in schools.”
This technical and vocational educational training leads to the CVQ and is critical to improving the quality of the workforce. Ruffin noted that students can sometime lack the skills and attitudes needed to work effectively when they join the workforce. Therefore, “as CVQ becomes part of the program for our entire school system, we expect that the country would see the new entrance to the workforce are better able to perform their roles according to the standards that the industry has set.”
Additionally, she revealed that the NTA can assist persons who are already in the workforce and may require training and certification, through the Assessment of Prior Learning Programme.
Speaking to the recent Assessors and Teachers, Ruffin reminded them of the critical roles they play in ensuring the quality assurance in competency. They are required to have a high degree of integrity, be dedicated, accurate, confidential, professional and respect the differences of others. Additionally, assessors are expected to exercise effective verbal and non-verbal communications, and to be fair and flexible when completing their duties.
One of the current Trained Assessors, Kellisha Granger, briefly addressed those present. She urged and encouraged the Assessors and Teachers to remember the importance of exercising professionalism and confidentiality at all times. “Conducting assessments can be very interesting, educational and exciting based on how the assessment is planned. It depends on you and your candidate to make the best of what you do and how you do it.” Additionally, she said, “Confidentiality is key when conducting assessments.”
Granger is currently conducting assessments in Customer Service and General Office Administration, among other subject areas, and she has pledged her commitment to keep doing this.
Representing the Ministry of Education was Cheif Education Officer(CEO) Elvis Morain. He described the ceremony, though short, to be very significant. “The Ministry of Education has developed that thrust towards having a competence-based education system”
Morian stated that they have listened to the call of many employers as it relates to competency of persons in the workforce, and have since implemented the pilot programme of CVQ in 5 secondary schools thus far. “There is a significant shift in the quality of education,” and, there is a difference between qualification and certification. Therefore, the ministry is happy to have started the CVQ process. So far, CVQ is available for CSEC in Commercial Food Preparation, General Construction, Furniture and Crop Production.
Although this is the pilot programme, Morain assured that ‘CVQ is here to stay,’ because, they are ‘satisfied that significant strides have been made,’ especially by the teachers who have worked tirelessly. He said training is lifelong and he hopes that those recently trained in the Assessor Programme will continue to work hard and refine their crafts in their various fields.