COL has been working with the Metal Industry Company (MIC) since 2014 to help them develop their programmes through the use of open educational resources. MIC offers training in areas such as air conditioning, automotive repair, electrical installation, welding and plumbing. Learners wishing to enrol in such courses require three Caribbean Examination Council subjects, of which two should be math and English. However, many boys in Tobago – as in much of the Caribbean – drop out of school early and do not have the courses required to enrol in MIC’s technical and vocational programmes. The result for MIC has been low enrolment and stunted growth.
COL’s Education Specialist for Open Schooling, Frances Ferreira, visited MIC and suggested that they start an open schooling centre to provide the courses that potential students lack. MIC has begun work to launch the new school this year. In addition to increasing enrolment, MIC believes that the open schooling centre will “go a long way in enhancing the sustainability of the institution and set MIC apart as an institution of choice”.
Not only is open schooling good for MIC, but it also will allow potential students to take only the courses they need and will guarantee them a place in the technical and vocational programme. At a time when youth unemployment is high, many young people are excited about the opportunity to gain the job-ready skills MIC offers.
This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of Connections.