JIS: More than 63,755 students have enrolled in the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) since its implementation seven years ago.An initiative under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, CAP provides an opportunity for students aged 16 to 18, to gain valuable training and skills for the job market or to further their education.
In addition to the job-ready training, CAP also provides exposure to life-coping skills, personal development, civics, personal and national values, and the tenets of good citizenship.
CAP is offered at selected secondary schools, private skills-development centres and private/public tertiary institutions across the island.
Chief Education Officer at the Ministry, Dr Grace McLean, said that for the 2016/2017 academic year, CAP has been restructured and expanded to better meet the needs of students.
The revised and expanded programme, which is being financed through funds totalling $804,888,000, serves as a two-year extension of secondary schooling, allowing students to remain in school at grades 12 and 13. This will provide greater opportunity for certified CAP graduates to matriculate into tertiary institutions.
The revised programme also allows for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) resits in Mathematics or English, which is fully paid for by the Ministry.
There is also an allocation of $40,000 each to benefit 40 students, who are enrolled in approved sixth-form programmes and are pursuing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), or a National Council on Technical, Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) skill.
CAP is offered along three pathways – technical, traditional and general. The traditional and technical pathways are offered across the programme's 110 centres, while the general pathway is facilitated through the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL).
McLean explained that the purpose of the general pathway is to ensure that learners are competent in literacy and numeracy and are enabled to successfully pursue career training in technical and vocational skills, delivered by the HEART Trust/NTA.
The traditional pathway provides students, who are enrolled in approved sixth forms and are pursuing CAPE, the option to also do NCTVET programmes. This is designed to provide the student with a skill component, along with the critical core subjects. This option allows students to achieve dual certification.
As it relates to the technical pathway, Dr McLean noted that it offers various options for students. One aspect is designed for students who are pursuing technical-oriented vocations, and they must have attained a pass or higher in at least one CSEC subject or its equivalent. Students who received a four in Mathematics and/or English will be able to resit the subject(s). Participants will also be required to pursue a TVET course at level one or two in addition to the prescribed mandatory core subjects.
Another component of the technical pathway is for students who are pursuing technical-oriented vocations and have attained the minimum score of 25 in the HEART/ NTA Diagnostic Test in both Mathematics and English. They will be required to pursue both Mathematics and English in the City and Guilds examinations, and a TVET course at either level one or two, in addition to the prescribed mandatory core areas.
McLean added that, going forward, there will be continuous capacity-building activities for stakeholders to enhance their level of competence in the Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) methodology, the technical component of skills, and other areas of weaknesses.
She also stated that there will also be full integration of the extended grade 12 and 13 into all public schools for the 2017/2018 academic year, an increase in stakeholders' partnership, and the implementation of a tracking system for all successful CAP graduates for matriculation into higher education or the world of work.
Skill and certification offerings under CAP include commercial food preparation, entrepreneurship, carpentry, welding; call centre operations, cosmetology, business administration, tour guide, hospitality services, motor vehicle repairs, digital animation, customer service, healthcare assistance, electrical engineering, information technology, and many more.
CAPTION: Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr Grace McLean. (Photo: JIS)