Press Release – 160 youth set to benefit from BIT’s competency-based training in Early Childhood Development, under the re-established Ministry of Labour
The Board of Industrial Training (BIT), Ministry of Labour on October 15, 2020, held a virtual Orientation session for 160 individuals who are set to benefit from its Competency-Based Training (CBT) in Early Childhood Development (ECD). This programme was designed with technical guidance from Early Childhood and Development Specialist, Dr. Michelle Semple-McBean, Head of Department of Foundation and Education Management, Faculty of Education and Humanities, University of Guyana (UG). It offers equivalent competencies to the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Level One.
This training programme is launched under the re-established Ministry of Labour by the current administration, which is led by the Honourable, Minister Joseph Hamilton.
In his keynote speech, the Minister pledged his Ministry’s support towards the success of the programme and highlighted that it was in keeping with two of his Ministry’s pillars: capacity building and human development. He indicated that the Government through BIT, will invest fifteen million, seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($15,720,000.00) in the implementation of this ECD training programme. Minister Hamilton also emphasised, that there are plans underway for such training to reach the Hinterland region. Further, he stated, whatever programmes are held on the Coast must also be reflected in the Hinterland regions as well.
Back in 2017, through several partnerships with agencies such as the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) and the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), BIT first offered a Foundational Training in Early Childhood Development and Leadership to 64 beneficiaries, and during 2018 – 2019, 180 youth from Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Ten were also engaged and benefitted. Having implemented this training, it was brought to BIT’s attention that many persons wished to pursue the Childcare Practitioners Programme offered at UG to improve their skills and obtain transferrable certification that will enable matriculation. However, due to financial constraints, it was not possible until now.
Ms. Lavern Thorne, the Early Childhood Executive Officer at the Childcare and Protection Agency and BIT’s ECD Programme Coordinator, highlighted that the training will be conducted by qualified lecturers within the field, and caters to 160 beneficiaries from Regions Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven and Ten, who are actively involved in providing Early Childhood Development across Guyana. Notably, two visually impaired persons from the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities are also a part of the training.
Dr. Semple-McBean highlighted that October 2020 is exactly one decade since the first CVQ Level One Programme in ECD was launched by UG in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and UNICEF. She explained that participants who successfully complete the BIT ECD programme are eligible for entry into the CVQ Level Two Type programmes offered at UG and UWI; which will ultimately allow them to achieve matriculation status to the Bachelor’s level programme. The notable national impact of this programme is that it is recognised by the Childcare Protection Agency, Ministry of Human Services and Social Security as a requisite qualification for certification as a caregiver in Guyana.
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary of BIT, Mr Richard Maughn stated at this orientation exercise that BIT is very passionate about implementing the ECD programme because research around the world suggests that when individuals are exposed to quality early childhood education they do better in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes, the core programmes of BIT. Thus, he posited that the beneficiaries of this ECD training will be better able to mould Guyana’s children to benefit from TVET offerings later on. Additionally, Mr Maughn encouraged the 160 beneficiaries to go beyond starting this programme to finishing it and to apply the knowledge and skills they will acquire through the programme.