Belize’s ITVET sector needs significant investment says Education Minister
Minister of Education Francis Fonseca says that the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) sector is in a dire state after being neglected under the previous administration. According to Fonseca, the six ITVET facilities across the country need repairs and significant investments. He says that the institutions need to diversify the training programs they offer to produce more highly qualified and skilled labourers.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I know STEAM is critically important but ITVET is absolutely important. We need to and we have very comprehensive plans to invest in the ITVET sector that’s critically important. It’s one of my greatest disappointments that the UDP government did not take technical vocational education training seriously. They did nothing maybe because you know this old nonsense of a PUP project they did nothing to invest in them. So when I visited them these ITVET facilities we have six of these facilities across the country including the Cayo SET you know this was a significant investment made back in 2002/2003 of close to $30 million dollars. They did nothing to upgrade the very same equipment that we had bought under that initial project was there so we have young people for example learning auto mechanics using ancient equipment which doesn’t serve any of the vehicles that we’re using now can’t be fixed with that type of equipment so we have to invest in ITVET. Skills training is critically important, the skills gap is critically important to economic development, to national development so we have a special project that we’re putting together for investing in the ITVETs along with STEAM education. Undoubtedly STEAM education is the way of the future but we can’t ignore ITVET’s technical vocational education I hear it all the time from the private sector we can’t get welders, we can’t get skilled plumbers, AC technicians, those types of skills so we absolutely have to find the resources to invest in ITVET so it’s not one or the other it has to be on parallel tracks if we’re serious about equipping our people with the skills they need to participate and contribute to the national development of Belize.”