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19th of November 2018

Bermuda News



'Working To Revive Technical Education'

photo Curtis TweedTechnical education is the focus of the latest issue of Bermuda College’s ‘Voices in Education’ journal, and with writers citing experiences at the now closed Bermuda Technical Institute, a senior College officials notes that “while we cannot turn back the clock to the 50’s or 60’s, we can learn from our history,” adding that the technical education programme at Bermuda College is a “step forward in filling a void in our education system.”

Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed — the College’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs — said, “Technical education: Past, present and future is the theme of the latest issue of Bermuda College’s peer-reviewed journal Voices in Education.

“Writers of articles on technical education in Bermuda overwhelmingly cite experiences at The Bermuda Technical Institute [BTI] as contributing to the positive development of Bermudian males.

“Graduates of BTI became positive contributors and notable citizens of the island. They are top level skilled technicians in their various areas, as well as entrepreneurs. BTI graduates cite the curriculum, the teaching, experiential or hands-on learning, the emphasis on discipline, and the dedication of faculty to their success as defining factors in their development.

“Since the closure of BTI, technical education has waned in the public school system, despite some tremendous ongoing efforts in the senior schools, such as in carpentry at The Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy.

“Many article contributors in Voices in Education, call for a return to technical education and those factors that so positively impacted youth development. However, the island’s needs for technical skills have changed somewhat from the 50s and 60s, and most technicians have to be eclectic in what they can do, honing a combination of skills in order to make a living.

“Any revival of technical education must be grounded in a vision for the future of technical skills development. Subsequent efforts must incorporate an understanding of current job possibilities with the intentional replication of those defining factors, as identified by BTI graduates that can positively impact the development of our youth.

“BTI graduates consistently attribute their success to quality teaching, experiential or hands-on learning, an emphasis on discipline, and faculty commitment to student success.

“Since 2016, Bermuda College has been working to revive technical education through the implementation of a dual enrolment programme in Applied Technology. This programme, which began in 2016, graduated 16 students in 2018 and now has a record enrolment of 50 students.

“Similar to the BTI graduates, our recent and current students, young men and women, identify the hands-on experiences, the programmatic emphasis on structure and routine and caring teachers as making a difference to their engagement and learning.

“Disciplinary practices have changed over the last half century with today’s focus on conveying to students the importance of structure and routine to their success in the workforce.

“Students in the dual enrolment programme are selected by their respective senior schools and start the programme at the beginning of their third year of high school. Their college coursework counts toward high school graduation requirements.

“Students may graduate with a certificate in Applied Science Technology with emphasis in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technology, Motor Vehicle Technology, Plumbing Technology or a diploma in Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

“The completed certifications are recognized by Bermuda’s employers. During the programme students participate in work experiences and internships at various local businesses. After high school, students can return to Bermuda College to complete further training, earn an Associate’s degree, and/or go overseas for further study.

“Bermuda College has a partnership with the New England Institute of Technology [NEIT]. Through our partnership, students obtain transfer credit for their work at Bermuda College and therefore reduce the time and cost to the completion of their programmes.

“Of the 2018 graduates, 9 students have returned to Bermuda College to further their studies in Technical Education, or other areas. In fall 2018, 2 students enrolled in NEIT and 2 have declared their intention to attend NEIT after completing their work at Bermuda College.

“Additionally, 2 students have entered the workforce and are gainfully employed in their technical skills area. Another student is seeking employment while planning to relocate.

“Technical Education at Bermuda College is not only for high school students but anyone who is interested in pursuing Technical Education. Employers who want their employees to upgrade or retool skills are encouraged to sponsor their employees.

“The Technical Education programme at Bermuda College is a step forward in filling a void in our education system. While we cannot turn back the clock to the 50’s or 60’s, we can learn from our history and replicate the attributes that contributed to positive outcomes for our youth- quality instruction, hands-on experiences, an emphasis on structure or personal discipline, and caring faculty.”

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