Following the decision by the Minister to provide addition employability skills to students on Vocational Training courses, the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission has produced a book entitled Building Career Skills. This is being used for a Foundation English Course conducted by the Department of Technical Education and Training, which leads to a National Vocational Qualification at Level. It will also be used for General skills development for NVQ Level 3 in centres run by the DTET as well as the Vocational Training Authority. Communication skills were supposed to be part of all NVQ courses, but there was no syllabus designed for this, and no course material. The Vocational Training Authority had hardly any English teachers, but this situation has now been remedied, with the recruitment of nearly 100 teachers on a visiting basis to service the more than 200 centres run by the VTA.
The Sector Councils recently set up by the Ministry noted the need for more English as well as other soft skills. The course, which introduces many speaking exercises, was designed by a team of consultants who have also underscored the importance of thinking skills and socialization. Initial training in delivery was provided to DTET and VTA teachers, and the textbook was piloted through the new website set up by the TVEC for teaching materials, www.buildingcareerskills.gov.lk
The launch of the first book prepared by the TVEC, entitled Building Career Skills, will take place on May 9 (Monday) at 3 pm at the Auditorium of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority. The Minister will also at the same event release ‘English and Education: in pursuit of Equity and Excellence’ by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Chairman of the TVEe. This book, also published by Godage & Bros. is a collection of essays on Secondary and Tertiary Education, dealing in large measure with efforts to broad base English education. The author was responsible for the reintroduction of English medium in government schools in 2001, and also for developing a university curriculum leading to degrees in English for those who had not studied English as a subject at the Advanced Level.
The keynote address will be delivered by Prof Lakshman Jayatilleka, Chairman of the National Education Commission, who chaired the Youth Commission in the early nineties and also served as Director General of the National Institute of Education.