The Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) hosted its first graduation ceremony on Friday June 23rd, at its Baughers Bay campus with eight students graduating including the Territory's top student, Kierra John.
Against this backdrop, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, Minister of Education and Culture said that for many years, they have had the misguided notion that if you didn't work in an office, if you didn't wear a necktie and fancy clothing, if you weren’t a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant, your years of education didn't do much for you.
"But nothing could be further from the truth. We live in a very diverse society, where all citizens are required to make a contribution. No society can function well without technical experts to do the very necessary and important things. If we are all doctors and lawyers - who will fix our cars? If we’re all doctors and lawyers - who would be the chefs in the hotels?"
He said, "If we’re all doctors and lawyers - who will build our homes? If we’re all doctors and lawyers - who will do women’s hair and makeup and make them look pretty. The point is a successful society requires its population to have diverse skills."
The minister said that if they are to be truthful with ourselves, there are many reasons for unemployment particularly with our young people, "but I believe in many instances we have more of a skills problem than anything else. And this why this institution is so important. "
He stated that a decision was made by the government of the Virgin Islands back in 2014 to place technical and vocational studies as a priority, and the Ministry of Education being responsible for building the human resource capacity of our country was given the mandate to do so.
"The former institution, which was referred to as the technical school, or given the nickname “The Ark,” was a very good effort with very good intentions."
"But I am sure we would all agree that it did not meet all the need our students, and the need in the Territory for an institution like this that adequately supports the labour market."
- Published in Education