Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"CHOICES Must be Lauded for .......Roadmaps........on How to Choose Careers" says Minister of Education

The following is a message from Jamaica's Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, for CHOICES Career and Education Expo 2011

Choosing a career is a big decision.

It is a decision that has implications not just for the individual but the country.

Career choice is important for the individual as the majority of persons spend most of their waking hours on the job; work is a fundamental aspect of life.  In fact according to the Bible - Genesis chapter 3 verse 19 in the King James Version – work was ordained by God:  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.”

If a person has to work, the smart thing would be for that person to select an area he/she enjoys or will enjoy. This is where career planning and development comes in, enabling persons to make decisions that will inevitably impact on their lifestyle and happiness, and the enriching of their lives and careers. 

The second point is that career choices have an impact on the country.  The career choices our young people make today will determine the future of Jamaica.  This is a truism, but it’s a truism that is particularly significant at this time in Jamaica’s history due a confluence of events.  Jamaica’s working age population will reach a maximum of 66.5 per cent of the total population by 2025, up from 63.4 per cent in 2007.   The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its Vision 2030 document refers to this population bump as the “demographic bonus” or “dividend.”

The PIOJ says this increase in the working-age population of almost 200,000 persons represents a unique opportunity to increase the size and productive potential of Jamaica’s human capital that will not be repeated in the foreseeable future.   If this ‘demographic dividend’ does not choose careers that will benefit Jamaica, the nation will be faced after the bump passes with the higher costs associated with an aging population and increased longevity without the requisite economic base.  Thus we must use the opportunity for economic growth presented by this demographic dividend to prepare for these long-term trends.

It is in light of these facts that the Ministry of Education has implemented measures to ensure career education is complementary to whatever knowledge students are gaining through interaction with subject syllabi in schools.
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The primary curriculum has sought to address career education by infusing the information into the subject offerings.  Additionally, the guidance curriculum speaks specifically to career education as this is one of its central themes.  At the secondary level the ROSE programme provides a curriculum which teachers are taught to use through infusion into their specific subject areas.  Also the guidance curriculum has a main theme that addresses career education developmentally.

Also, the Ministry and the Career Development Services Division of the HEART/NTA, along with other stakeholders, is spearheading the development of a career education programme which is being piloted at the primary and grade nine level in selected schools.

I congratulate Choices on staging another Career and Education Exposition.  Many young people want to choose fulfilling careers, but do not know how to go about doing so. Choices must be lauded for providing roadmaps through its expositions and magazines on how to choose careers.

A young person choosing a career only sees what it will offer to him or her. But I want our young people to understand that a good career choice has the power to confront and help solve the problems besetting Jamaica.   Career choices ultimately decide the type of society in which we live. 

I urge you all to pursue careers that will help to push the nation toward growth and prosperity.

I thank you.