Tracer Study To Examine Education Perceptions

Published on June 5, 2015 by Joy-Ann Gill

Acting Programme Director of the Programme Coordinating Unit, Junior Burgess. (GP)

The transition of young graduates into the world of work, and their perceptions of levels of employability and the education received at this island’s 22 secondary schools and three technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, will be scrutinised over the next few months. 

A clear signal of this came yesterday with the official launch of the Graduate Tracer Study by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, at Infinity on the Beach, Dover, Christ Church.

Acting Programme Director of the Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU), Junior Burgess, explained that the launch of the tracer study was part of the third component of the Skills For The Future (SFTF) Program, which addressed institutional strengthening. 

He said it reinforced the Ministry’s dedication “to continuous development and educational enhancement through insight gleaned from empirical research”. “At the Ministry, we believe that if we are going to go forward and be on the cutting edge, and impact Barbados, that we must use research to guide us, not just what persons feel, but empirical research, hence this study,” Mr. Burgess stated. 

He added that it would offer a unique opportunity for the Ministry to gather perceptions of institutions which students would have attended. According to him, the tracer study will also provide information on a graduate’s main course of study; the techniques used in its delivery while they were at their respective institution; and the main employment opportunities that were made available to these school leavers. 

It is also expected to examine challenges they would have faced in the search for employment and successes based on the main source of study they would have pursued. 

“This research intends to strengthen the decision-making process for students as they can clearly see which area of study has the greatest employability. We believe it will guide them and provide them with information but more importantly provide data back at the Ministry that can guide our decision-making progress,” the Acting Programme Director pointed out. 

Trinidadian firm, Kairi Consultants Ltd., has been contracted to conduct the survey, designed by Barbadian consultant, Dr. Dwayne Devonish, and managed out of the PCU of the Ministry. 

The survey will examine graduate populations within the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Barbados Vocational Training Board and all secondary schools. 

The Acting Head of the PCU said over the next few weeks, persons will be contacted via phone and invited to participate in the study. On November 2, 2012, Barbados signed a $20 million Loan Agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank for the Skills For the Future Program. 

Its main objective is to support the Human Resource Development Strategy (2011-2016), with an emphasis on improving the quality and relevance of secondary education and the effectiveness of technical and vocational education in Barbados.