CDB to Fund Upgrade of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute

The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) is to get a state of the art upgrade that will allow it to serve a larger number of students and deliver higher quality programmes. Set to be launched in the latter part of 2015, the upgrade will also enhance BTVI’s outreach to support targeted skills development needs in the construction trades in the Family Islands of Abaco, Andros, Bimini and Eleuthera.

Funding for the project, of USD4.74 mn, was approved by the Board of Directors the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on December 11. The project is in keeping with the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas’ view that an enhanced, responsive technical vocational education and training (TVET) sub-sector is a critical transformational factor for economic competitiveness and social cohesion.

As the primary TVET institution in The Bahamas, the development of BTVI is central to workforce development in the country and its continued transformation as a high quality and accredited training provider is important for economic competitiveness.  BTVI will be repositioned to offer more demand-driven programmes; which are more accessible by nationals and residents of The Bahamas, including those in the Family Islands; and more germane to the needs of the labour market.

Expected outcomes of the upgrade include: an enhanced learning environment; improved governance and management system; and enhanced capacity for quality TVET delivery. Within that, a classroom block, capable of accommodating 200 students and with eight teaching spaces to be used as smart classrooms, will be constructed on the Nassau campus; seven existing classroom and teaching labs on the Nassau campus will also be rehabilitated; 25 laboratories will be upgraded; new tools and equipment acquired; and the power supply and accessories improved to be energy efficiency and incorporate renewable energy.

With annual expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and the national budget typically around 5 per cent and 16 per cent respectively, The Bahamas government has consistently placed high emphasis on Human Resource Development as a national development strategy. This level of investment has resulted in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals targets as well as national policy goals including universal access and coverage in basic education with gender parity; and a quality teaching corps with 85% of trained teachers.

CDB’s involvement in the TVET sub-sector is informed by its Education and Training Policy and Strategy which supports investments for increasing and broadening access, improving efficiency and effectiveness, strengthening institutional capacity and enhancing technological capacity.  The Project complements initiatives in the TVET sub-sector in Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs)  such as the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)-funded CARICOM Education for Employment project, which seeks to strengthen regional institutional capacity to develop, implement and promote gender-sensitive occupational standards, workforce certification, and demand-driven TVET.

Image source: BTVI Facebook