RTCs – a second chance for school drop outs

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Education Secretaries together with Australian High commission staff and ATPC staff
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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

TECHNICAL Vocational Education Training or Rural Training Centre is seen as second chance education for those who are unable to further their studies in the formal education sector.

Solomon Islands Association of Rural Training Centres (SIARTC) is the umbrella body for the Rural Vocational Training Centres (RTCs), non-formal educational institutions for young men and women.

RTC trainees graduates with the appropriate knowledge and practical skills for self-sufficiency, productivity and responsible citizenship within the rural community.

SIARTC was established in March 1992.

Joseph Pitakia, Chair of National Education Board said the current Education Act does not capture TVET or RTCs, as the education act currently used was drafted way back in 1978 by late Sir Francis Bugotu.

“In that act it does not have anything to do with RTC or TVET, and what support for TVET we think should come from the Ministry of Education, it does not happen because the current act did not capture any language for the TVET sector.

“However, we are so fortunate that even though there is no act for TVET, the Government is committed to support the TVET sector with grants and paying of their staff”, Pitakia said.

He said Church Education authorities formed a coalition and supported the TVET sector to give opportunity to our children who are unable to go through.

“To be honest in the new Education Bill that we are currently working on, TVET education is not captured, although there is a need for us to have it with the population increase, we have now”, Pitakia said.

Pitakia when questioned why TVET education was not captured in the current Bill, said the Board does not have the answer, as it is the responsibility of the government and the board is only there to monitor how the act and regulation works on all institution.

“But after we raised concerns on why the TVET sector was not in the Bill, the government said they will create a mini bill so this TVET act can be nested somewhere in the main Act but that is not yet done”, Pitakia said.

Meanwhile, Pitakia thanked Australia for their support towards the TVET sector for recognizing the sector and filling in the gap by directly working with TVET as it is a real need for this country, in training young people upgrade their skills.

“The TVET sector is important as not every student was given the ability for cognitive development some of them are very skilful and I thank the Churches for their initiative in this sector,” Pitakia added


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