A working group of Technical Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) stakeholders met in Funafuti, Tuvalu last week to discuss a way forward for technical and vocational programmes in Tuvalu. The workshop was coordinated by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC).
Currently four tertiary institutions in Tuvalu offer technical and vocational courses. The Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI), Tuvalu Atoll Science Technology Training Institute (TASTII), Australian Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) participated in this workshop to collaborate on how they can better serve the needs of Tuvalu’s youth unemployment which is also a matter of concern for the Tuvalu government.
As Tuvalu also participates in the Labour Mobility programme with Australia and New Zealand, having quality TVSD programmes in schools and tertiary institutions will mean well-trained young people for the available market.
It’s Department of Education is also in the process of developing a policy to promote TSVD, with Assistance from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
One outcome of last week’s consultation was the need to change people’s perception about TVSD.
Chair and USP’s Tuvalu Campus Director, Dr. Rosiana Lagi, said technical and vocational skills are survival skills. These skills are important for everyone to know to be able to survive. As such, it is important that they be formally recognised in schools and society and be given the same respect and attention given to academic subjects.
Dr Lagi said according to the American psychologist, Howard Gardner, there are multiple types of intelligence, however our schools seem to generally focus on academic and no other important skills. Consequently, society perceives TVSD as second-class knowledge and schools rob them of learning these important skills. With COVID-19 people are returning to use these skills to be able to survive. Therefore, it is paramount that we teach these skills with high regard, otherwise we will fail our people by not equipping them to face the new life challenges.
Dr. Lagi commended APTC for taking the lead in this initiative and collaborating with the stakeholders in this crucial exercise.
Acting Labour Officer, Meafou Brian who participated in the workshop said tertiary institutions providing technical and vocational courses play a key role in marketing people from Tuvalu for the Australia and New Zealand labour mobility programmes.
Sosela Tinilau, Acting Assistant Secretary for Ministry of Public Works Infrastructure Environment, Labour, Disaster and Meteorology Services, wants awareness to be created. He said awareness was a key factor in ensuring people know about this initiative and alternative education and career pathways that they can take. He added that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports can play a key role in rolling out the initiative.
APTC’s Country Liaison and Engagement Coordinator in Tuvalu Fetagisi Titivalu said this was a significant development for Tuvalu. The outcome of the 30 June consultation will be presented to the CEO of the Ministry of Education and Education, its officers and stakeholders for further deliberation and implementation.