BTVI’s team presents at international TVET conference

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For the first time in the history of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, three of its employees had the opportunity to present papers at the same international conference. Dean of Construction Trades and Workforce Development, Alexander Darville; Chair of Information Technology, Anthony Ramtulla and Chair of Math, Archilene O’Brien, were presenters at the fourth annual international conference on technical vocational education and training (TVET) held recently in Jamaica. The presentations were on Working to Learn a Skill: The Apprenticeship Model for The Bahamas, Information Communication and Technology Skills for a Global Economy and Making Math Understandable for TVET Students Using Technology: A Case Study of ALEKS.

Ms. O’Brien introduced the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) web-based artificially intelligent system to BTVI back in 2016. It zeroes in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s math knowledge, reports the findings to the student and then helps improve the student’s knowledge of Math via technology. Ms. O’Brien summed up the three-day conference as “transformational.” She said being able to add value to such a conference was a “wow moment.”
“That collaboration on programs and projects and interconnectivity of a Caribbean region for our students, it almost seemed like one Bahamas became one Caribbean,” she exclaimed. “Too many times you are in your small corner and the world passes you by. As an institution, it puts your spot on the graph. It creates a level of reflection and urgency of decisive action,” she stressed.

Additionally, BTVI’s Dean of Construction and Workforce, Alexander Darville noted that the annual conference is a call for a skilled workforce, which is needed globally. “Technology is changing and there is movement of people. It’s a demographic shift. We have to train
and re-train. We have to re-tool people to take on new jobs,” said Mr. Darville, who also attended the first conference four years ago. Mr. Darville noted that the importance of numeracy, literacy, soft skills and technology were echoed throughout the conference. He said the conference was a major achievement for him, pointing to personal and professional growth that allowed him to represent BTVI and The Bahamas on an international stage. Meanwhile, Mr. Ramtulla said what stood out to him at the conference was the results-driven focus of
participants. “Most of the people there were into research and the consensus from the Caribbean is we need more of these career-oriented training sessions. We got to hear what is trending and different approaches in the Caribbean,” he stated.

Mr. Ramtulla noted that there was a lot of buzz about BTVI’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) summer youth program. The three-year summer program, which was launched in
2018 in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister, began by training ninth graders in the modules of I.T. Fundamentals, Linux Unhatched, Introduction to Cyber Security, Python, JavaScript, professional performances and ethics. “We’re taking people from grade nine and at the end of grade 11, they would have sat six international IT certifications and have half of an associate’s degree,” said Mr. Ramtulla. “At BTVI, we have been using a lot of cloud infrastructure to achieve what we have achieved. We are a
gold standard for TestOut because our students have good results. We are training for future jobs – jobs that do not exist as yet. We are heavily on the international standard. In industry, it’s about certifications,” he added.

In 2017 and 2018, BTVI was awarded for excellent international certification exam results from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) out of 40 testing centres regionally. BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, expressed pride in the team that presented at the conference, adding that it is the intention to provide additional training opportunities to ensure all faculty continue to develop their skills and improve the BTVI brand.

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