RCN Editorial: Getting our people back to work.

| 28th February 2021 | 0 Comments

Sent in by: Alric Lindsay.

Human Capital

I see human capital as something we must focus on for the covid19 recovery period.  This includes education which is needed during and post-pandemic to retool and retrain tourism and other workers to get them back to work, even if their return is to different industries.   However, retooling and retraining can only be effective within an education system that is effective in learning and which keeps up with changing technology.

When it comes to our children, my view on education is influenced by the teachings and analysis of an educator and trainer.  The concept is having one year one input resulting in one year of progress for each child.  Successive policymakers have not focused on this point and, instead, have focused on the politics of distraction -the 100 million dollar initially non-functioning building in Frank Sound and now, the 160 million dollar expansions and buildings being done now for another school.  The fact is that the buildings themselves have little or no impact on learning.  We must move away from these distractions and instead focus on:

·         consulting all stakeholders in the education system – school leaders, teachers, students, other adults in the school system, and policymakers

 ·         creating an open, non-threatening environment where teachers can openly express their ideas on what is and what is not working. An environment where teachers don’t feel afraid and where there are no repercussions for opinions

 ·         recruitment of the best teachers. Recruitment should be done way in advance of the commencement of the school year

 ·         treatment of teachers as professionals in the same way as doctors and lawyers are viewed, including the remuneration of teachers like professionals and based on their expertise (not paying a blanket fixed salary not linked to expertise which is a recent decision from the current government which may lead to a division between teachers e.g. those teachers with 30 years experience may now be earning the same salary as teachers with 5 years experience, which is interpreted as unfair)

·         changing techniques from learning one idea or multiple ideas (which are memorized for, and regurgitated on, exam papers and graded) to deep thinking which involves relating ideas and applying ideas to practical scenarios

 ·         matching what students study to what we actually do in our economic sectors 

·         having resources and funding to support all of the above

Vocational High School Diploma Tracks

To aid relevant outcomes, I think that we need two highschool diploma tracks for children- one vocational and one traditional.  The vocational track will allow Caymanians to gain a high school diploma that focuses on their special trade skills which will help them to prepare for careers as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and construction workers.  This vocational track can be funded by directing a higher proportion of the education budget to vocational studies.  The number of skilled tradespersons we produce will be in direct proportion to the expected growth in relevant sectors.  This may reduce the number of work permits issued in these sectors, creating a permanent base of local persons with highly technical and mobile skills.  The other, traditional, financial services track will continue with adjustments for matching graduates with actual jobs required in our financial services industry.  Our thinking must be long-term, with the hope of filling education and training gaps. This type of thinking will allow us to fully participate in the success of our economy.

Category: RCN Editorial Board

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