The country’s participation rate in the tertiary sector has grown. So said Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim yesterday as he toured the soon-to-be opened Metal Industries Company (MIC) Institute of Technology, Diego Martin Technology Centre and YTEPP training facility at Diamond Vale Industrial Estate (Factory Road), Diego Martin.
Karim, asked if he was satisfied with the participation of the country’s citizens in such programmes, said yes but indicated there was always room for improvement.
He said, “When I became minister in 2010, the participation rate in the tertiary sector was 42 per cent, with the expansion of these facilities and facilities like this, the Government of T&T has set a target by May 2015 of 60 per cent to be accomplished. I am pleased to announce to you that we are currently at 57 per cent, and I am convinced that by May 2015 we will meet and exceed that percentage.”
Karim said the People’s Partnership manifesto said it would have expanded the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (Gate) to vocational studies. “A society cannot only be built on academia,” he said. The $1.5 million refurbished centre houses six classrooms, a computer lab, an l-shaped food preparation room among others. Courses to be offered at the centre includes a mix of both the traditional and non-traditional courses such as animation, patient care, small engine repair among others.
The teaching and training of such courses opened up job opportunities on the North West Peninsula, he said. The names of those trained or retrained at the centre would also be kept in a database and information housed at the workforce assesment centre where they can access job opportunities, and after jobs are completed employers who utilised the skills would be able to comment on the person’s skill.
The centre is scheduled to be opened next Wednesday at 2 pm and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley are among those expected to be in attendance. Karim said the centre should be completely operational in one month’s time.