CDB supports reforms in Technical and Vocational Education in St. Kitts and Nevis

In St. Kitts and Nevis, there is an urgent need to address the critical shortage of skilled nationals and develop a sustainable, efficient and productive workforce. To help address this, the Government will access financing from the Caribbean Development Bank to implement the Technical, Vocational, Education and Training Enhancement Programme.

On Thursday, December 10, the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved USD8.3 million in financing to support the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in enhancing its technical and vocational education system to improve national productivity, drive economic development and boost competitiveness.

The Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Enhancement Project aims to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of the TVET system.

“The TVET Enhancement Project will help narrow the gap between the demand for and supply of skilled labour. CDB is pleased to support the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in reforming the technical and vocational education system, which is a key pillar in the country’s economic growth,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.

Upgrading TVET facilities

The project will upgrade TVET facilities in St. Kitts and Nevis, where facilities are in poor condition, equipment and supplies are inadequate and outdated, and workshops and laboratories at secondary schools are non-compliant with Caribbean Vocational Qualifications standards. Rehabilitation and expansion works are planned for the Advanced Vocational Education Centre; Charlestown Secondary School, and the MPC and Gingerland Secondary School on Nevis. In addition, the laboratories and workshops at Washington Archibald High School, Cayon High School, Charles E. Mills Secondary School, Verchilds High School and Saddlers Secondary School on St. Kitts have been earmarked for upgrades. Students and teachers will also benefit from improved equipment, tools, furniture, supplies and materials that support the TVET curriculum.

Reforming the TVET system

In the TVET system, reforms are needed to strengthen management and coordination, improve standards, assure quality, and enhance the marketing and promotion of TVET. The project will support these improvements through training, the provision of consultancy services; implementation of support in areas such as marketing and gender-responsive career counselling; and the creation of operational guidelines to support training of employees at TVET facilities.

As part of the efforts to improve the quality of TVET instruction, training will be provided for 45 teachers and instructors; up to degree level in TVET skill areas; 100 assessors and verifiers; and 80 principals and teachers in Competency-Based Education.

More support for At-Risk Youth

The project also aims to curb student disengagement and improve educational outcomes for students, by implementing effective student support services. Particular support will be provided for underperforming students, youth empowerment programming and career counseling in secondary schools, and strengthening Health and Family Life Education programmes. Engaging parents of at-risk learners is also a priority.

The TVET Enhancement Project is consistent with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis’ 2013 TVET Policy and the revised CARICOM Regional TVET Strategy for Workforce Development and Economic Competitiveness (2013). It is part of CDB’s programme of assistance as outlined in the Country Strategy Paper (2013-2016) for St. Kitts and Nevis and aligns to CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development.