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Nassau, The Bahamas - The education curriculum at Her Majesty's Prisons, Fox Hill, will be expanded to include distance-learning courses, Minister of National Security the Hon. O.A. "Tommy"
Turnquest said Wednesday.
Address to the 7th Annual Caribbean MBA Conference by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham:
The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) is now a semi-autonomous body with a nine-member board.
The board, a first for the institution, was established by the 2010 Bahamas Technical and Vocational Act, which came into force in early 2011. Its chairman is Felix Stubbs, general manager of IBM Bahamas Limited; the deputy chairman is Peter Whitehead, consultant at Osprey Construction.
"BTVI students will be supported by a very able-bodied board of visionary and successful leaders in their own right, who will work with the management of BTVI to map out a more progressive future for BTVI," said Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald.
Other members of the board from various industries include Cadwell Pratt, assistant director at the Ministry of Works and Urban Development; Kevin Basden, general manager at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation; Thelma Grimes, retired public servant; Godfrey Forbes, president, Bahamian Contractors Association; Henry Storr, proprietor, Storr's Electric; Sabrina Francis, fashion designer and owner of Se-B Fashion Designs, and Ruby Nottage, retired Supreme Court justice.
With semi-autonomy, BTVI will have its own budget. Previously it was under the Ministry of Education.
According to the education minister, the board's appointment is a leap forward for vocational and technical education in The Bahamas.
"The board will play a critical part in the development of BTVI. It will help to raise the profile of BTVI from a policy and national perspective," said Fitzgerald.
"We want to be able to reduce the number of labor permits and BTVI plays a critical role in that. BTVI is addressing the needs of the country in terms of skilled labor."
Stubbs said the board recognized the significance of BTVI.
"It is important to the advancement of the economy and skilled laborers are needed to help move the economy forward. At BTVI, we want every deserving person to be given the opportunity to enhance their skills," he said.
Sitting as the ex-officio member of the board until the appointment of a president is BTVI's Manager and Consultant Dr. Iva Dahl. Fitzgerald commended Dahl and her team for their hard work and efforts in elevating the quality of programs and training along with local and international partnerships, which have advanced BTVI.
"One program I am particularly impressed with is BTVI's construction trades training, which it has taken to the Family Islands to ensure that scores of Bahamians have an opportunity to obtain skills training in this lucrative field," he said.
Fitzgerald noted that studies show that higher levels of vocational education and training qualifications and workforce development are strongly linked to increased workforce participation and productivity of society.
BTVI offers various programs of study where students are able to obtain diplomas and certificates. The institution also offers associate of science degrees in office administration, business office technology, construction technology, electronics engineering installers and repairs, in addition to information management.
In the past two years enrollment has increased by more than 25 percent at the institution. There are 1,957 students at BTVI, with 1,746 at its New Providence campus and the remainder being at the school's Freeport campus.
High school technical teachers were recently urged to ensure they are knowledgeable about the latest advances in their fields of study from the Dean of Construction Trades at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Alexander Darville.
Darville told the public school teachers during a professional development workshop that they could not rely on the Ministry of Education to do everything. As instructors he told the teachers that they should always be on the cutting edge of what is happening in the world. As an example, he said an instructor should never say they should not say they could not use an air gun because he likes to use a hammer. He told the teachers that they are the ones preparing students for industry and the work world, and as such they should ensure they are trained.
The workshop that focused on BTVI's role in preparing students for construction and technical trades, student pre-requisite standards and program readiness was held at C.C. Sweeting Senior School. The workshop's theme was, "Designing pathways to the future -- Establishing standards at each level."
Teachers represented government schools that offer technical courses in electrical installation, carpentry, drafting/autocad, plumbing, electronics, auto mechanics, auto body repair, and air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Darville also told the teachers that there was a need for an alignment between high schools and BTVI.
"All the subject matter experts need to bridge the gap. It is far over due to have a relationship with BTVI," he said.
The Ministry of Education's senior education officer for technical studies, Trevor Ferguson, supported Darville's sentiments.
"I agree with you 100 percent that it is far past time to forge a relationship. BTVI is our premier technical and vocational institution and we are the 'nursery' for the training. We need the relationship to take our students to the next level," said Ferguson.
During his recommendations, Darville suggested that all technical instructors should complete the international 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification.
He said that as subject experts, they should also sit at the table when planning the curriculum, a suggestion that meet with applause from the teachers.
The workshop was the opportunity to strategically plan, coordinate and implement efforts for the benefit of the present and future generations of technical workers. Darville said that at BTVI, the goal is to empower students to not only prepare for the world of work, but to also become entrepreneurs.
Graduates of the C.C. Sweeting High School Work Based Learning Programme were reminded that they might never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that as they graduate high school they should decide to be strong, confident A-grade employees.
Elma Garraway, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, told the members of the sixth graduation class, of which Micheal Hanna was the top academic student, to decide that with determination, hope and commitment they can achieve their goals.
"It is my prayer that you will make wise decisions and remain safe as you move forward, upward and onward in your new role as a responsible adult, citizen and proud alumni of C.C. Sweeting Senior High School," said Garraway.
For those students seeking further training and educational experiences, Garraway reminded them that financial aid was available for them at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and that short courses can be found on a part-time basis in most of the technical and business areas.
The former education permanent secretary, who was also an educator, said it's never too late to learn anything their mind's can conceive of.
"You must be prepared to defy the odds [and] intend to win," said Garraway.
The former permanent secretary shared with the young men seven traits identified by the American Association of Technical and Vocational Education sent to her by Dr. Iva Dahl, the manager/consultant at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, that she said would ensure success once followed -- attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.
"Positive people are in short supply, but are in high demand. Display good manners at all times and never let anyone determine how you should behave," Garraway said.
Garraway told them to be on time every time, as punctuality speaks to character and will give their supervisors an impression about how they feel about their jobs. She reminded them of an old adage: "The early bird catches the worm."
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dress the part you were hired to play or would wish to play," she said.
The educator also said that their ambitions would show that they value knowledge and to always learn, read and continue their educations and training.
"Exceed the expectations of those around you and show that you are invaluable to your employer. My advice to you is to write down three goals you would wish to achieve. Look at them every week and evaluate how you are working to achieve them," she said.
Garraway reminded the graduating students to be accountable and people of integrity. She told them to always demonstrate that they can be trusted to complete all tasks assigned without being watched.
"Be honest in all things, and be the kind of person you would trust to work for you," she said.
She told them that they always need to be accepting of rules and regulations of the job, the country and the Bible and to respect authority and those placed in leadership positions.
"Be a good team player. And remember that in order to be a leader you must be a good follower," she said.
The former teacher reminded the graduates to always show appreciation and to go beyond the call of duty to give good service and be reminded that every satisfied customer is a repeat customer. She told them their supervisors would value their service.
The C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme is an all-male cohort started in September 2007 by the school's former Principal Delores Ingraham. Its motto is: "It's Better to Build a Boy than to Repair a Man."
The main objective of the program is to act as an intervention for twelfth grade male students -- to reduce the dropout rate among high school male students who are challenged academically; to ensure that the students participating in the program achieve a skill/trade; to provide students with the opportunity for gainful employment. (If they work well enough on the job, the company may hire them for the summer and then full time); to expose the students to hands-on, on-the-job training opportunities; improve the number of male students satisfactorily completing high school; and provide participants with the opportunity to sit the Bahamas Junior Certificate examination for math, English language and health science if they have not done so.
Students attend school twice per week to receive instruction in the core subjects and report to the work site of their career choice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are mentored while acquiring a skill as they are exposed to various skill sets like air condition repair, auto repair, bodywork, landscaping, plumbing, hotel training, videography and welding while still completing high school.
Over 120 students have passed through the program since its inception. The program has an 80 percent completion average.
Current Work Based Learning Programme work sites are E & U Watercoolers, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Junkanoo Beach Resort, Superclubs Breezes and The Royal Bahamas Police Force Garage.
THE Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute presented a scholarship grant to Miss Universe Bahamas Lexi Wilson yesterday...
Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI) students Victorian Knowles, Dexter Laidley and Philip Curling are the most recent recipients of tuition assistance by the RBC Royal Bank which recently made a $10,000 donation to the institution.
The donation represented the third and final installment of a $30,000 RBC commitment to BTVI and provides tuition assistance to three deserving students.
Curling is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Information Technology Management.
Laidley is studying towards a Certificate in Electrical Installation.
Knowles is enrolled in the Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Management program.
"I was surprised to receive the call telling me that RBC had donated and as a result I was selected as a recipient," said Knowles. "I have always wanted to pursue a degree in IT since I was nine or 10 years old, and now with this assistance I am able to achieve a lifelong dream. My ultimate goal is to work as an x-ray technician and this training at BTVI will allow me to build on a very strong foundation."
Dr. Iva Dahl, manager/consultant at BTVI thanked RBC Royal Bank for its contribution.
"RBC is well-known for its philanthropy in The Bahamas. At BTVI we are elated to have again been selected as recipients of such a kind gesture," she said.
Dr. Dahl said the bank's donation proved that RBC was concerned about education in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and that they see the value in technical and vocational education.
"We are most appreciative for the donation that has assisted three more students to obtain tertiary education. We now have three additional dreams being realized as a result of this corporate sponsorship,"she said.
Nathaniel Beneby, RBC Royal Bank managing director The Bahamas, Cayman and Turks and Caicos Islands said the institution supports a wide range of initiatives that help young people realize their potential.
"Our contribution to BTVI allows us to expand educational opportunities for young Bahamians with the expectation that they will lead and inspire future generations," said Beneby. "I wish this group of young persons the best of luck and continued success as they pursue their academic and career goals."
Students from L.W. Young Junior High School were recently exposed to the art of painting and provided with the opportunity to channel their practical skills at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). Eleven boys were chosen to participate in a dual enrollment program.
The ninth grade students are participating in the 10-week program that will culminate on December 5 while simultaneously completing junior school. The three classes include introduction to painting along with math and English on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The program is the brainchild of L.W. Young Vice Principal Stephen McPhee. He said the initiative is a source of motivation for the students and an extra push for them to excel.
"My principal, Janet Nixon, and the entire administrative team are very supportive of this initiative, recognizing that these students are social leaders but not academically motivated, however, they are practical learners," said McPhee. "We want to show them that learning can be fun for them and we need to create the environment for these students to bloom. We believe a sense of self-worth would affect their academic and social behavior."
Kenyetta Hepburn, the mother of a 14-year-old participant, is optimistic about the program.
"I believe this will help these boys with their grades a lot. My son is already talented with his hands and it will give him an opportunity to see what his career choices are," she said.
BTVI's Dean of Construction Trades Alexander Darville said the program debunks the misconception that many people have, that people do not need formal education for painting. He said there are many components associated with painting, including estimation and the preparation of surfaces.
Darville is convinced the program will result in an improvement in the young men.
"We believe it will assist with their attempt at the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) exams. This is a gateway into the institution and the long-term goal is that they would eventually do introduction to interior painting. This is how we change lives," said Darville.
Another parent, Stacey Outten, was thankful that her son, who likes painting, had been given the opportunity. She believes it will help him to become more responsible.
BTVI Painting and Decorating Instructor David Barry met with the youngsters prior to their official day of instruction and has already seen the difference in them. Although the boys will only be introduced to the painting program, Barry hopes it ignites an interest to return to BTVI later.
"They're excited to be in this environment. I hope they will stay in the painting program. The point is to finish the program. BTVI's painting program is about preservation as well, so it's much more than painting on a surface. We do furnishing finishing and wall covering too, as the interior part of painting," said Barry.
BTVI Academic Dean Pleshette McPhee said the benefits of the initiative will be monumental.
"Sometimes the schools may not be keeping students engaged and they may sometimes become a number. They should be channeled into the direction of their talents. We must harness the skills of our young children. This program is into saving lives," she said.
As a part of the Ministry of National Security's Shock Treatment program, a group of 22 at-risk boys were recently exposed to several trade disciplines while touring the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).
The program's initial participants are from T. A. Thompson Junior High School and C.C. Sweeting Senior High School. According to Barbara Cartwright, manager of the Citizen Security Unit of the Ministry of National Security, school guidance counselors played a pivotal role in identifying the boys who would be included in the program.
"Apparently there was a lot of fighting, stealing, parents complaining about students coming home late. Also, most of them admitted to smoking, and a few of them admitted to being in gangs. What we're trying to do is show them a glimpse into the results of making bad choices. We feel BTVI would be able to stimulate and encourage them," said Cartwright.
BTVI's Dean of Construction Trades Alexander Darville encouraged the young men and told them that they do not have to be a product of their environments.
"You have to think about the end results. The mere reason you are here today shows that someone cares. BTVI is an institution where you can come, get a discipline and make some money," said Darville.
Kendra Samuels, BTVI's admissions officer, said BTVI is prepared to offer the boys another level of education.
"Skilled labor is needed, and the Shock Treatment program is trying to heighten their awareness of that. Our doors here at BTVI are open for them if they have the passion and the thirst for knowledge," said Samuels.
The boys, aged 11 to 17, are among the first to participate in the intervention program, which will see a new installment of vulnerable young males on a monthly basis.
"To see the amount of young people in prison isn't thrilling. If we don't save them now, we'll have to manage them later," said Pastor Carlos Reid, director of the Shock Treatment program.
The program allows young men to experience first-hand the consequences of deviant behavior. Over the course of the three-day intensive program, the young men visit Her Majesty's Prisons, the morgue and a gravesite. They are expected to engage in further training over the next two years, during which time they will be monitored, evaluated and if necessary, an intervention will be performed. Ultimately, the program will provide them with positive alternatives.
"One of the objectives is to place them in a position to make positive choices. We want to expose them to different disciplines," said Reid.