Build more prisons or invest in a technical vocational school?
In my opinion, this is the latter of the two, but it’s up to you to think about it.
What is troubling is that at the rate of incarceration, our prison system in the Turks and Caicos Islands may soon be at full capacity.
With that being a real possibility, what are some of the proactive steps being taken to help find post-release employment and / or participate in life skills education and training?
Many of our young men may have no interest in attending college or university, but have learned other skills over the years. So what other opportunities do we have for this segment of the population in terms of continuing education or business?
Look around the country, you will find that most of our workforce revolves around the service industry and commerce. Many of these workers have untapped skills that should only be cultivated in their area of interest or expertise.
With this in mind, offering vocational training will enable students and young adults to gain the necessary practical experience with a renewed focus in the field of study or career of their choice. This is something they might not otherwise have been able to achieve through traditional classroom learning in academia.
In the PNP 2021 manifesto in Education, Work and Employment, it clearly states their commitment to the following:
“Creating learning opportunities for students who meet different interests, strengths and learning needs, as well as providing the diverse skills that the country needs. “
Now I think the government should take additional steps to subsidize the apprenticeship of our young people, so that it becomes more than just platitudes.
Give credit where credit is due. The previous administration was on the right track when a proposal was made to start a vocational technical school. Unfortunately, the current pandemic may have hampered these efforts.
Nonetheless, the idea was brilliant, and this current administration should continue to embark on this initiative and see it come to fruition.
This initiative should go ahead, even if it means using the leverage of our BBB + rating borrowing power as long as we are able to do so. It is my belief that the return on investment could be invaluable.
Often countries imitate each other with strategies to tackle or improve different situations, but mass incarceration should not be one of them.
Yes indeed, appropriate facilities are needed to house and secure those who commit heinous crimes. Nonetheless, if we have learned something from a developed country like the United States in particular, which has the highest per capita incarceration rate, we cannot stop or incarcerate our path to reducing crime.
Rather, it should be a motivation to galvanize prison reform and address some issues to help reduce the rate of recidivism in prison.
We need to be very careful about strategies that we emulate without doing our own in-depth studies to determine the societal impact or long-term benefits of an initiative.
Considering the population of Providenciales, this would be the ideal location for such a school.
However, the existing infrastructure in Grand Turk, which is currently used as a community college, may also be sufficient.
With the separate workshops already in place, along with some much needed renovations, this location would make an easy transition for maybe two or three training courses.
It would be in the best interest of our country, as well as big business, to support such an initiative.
Example: before the pandemic, every year, a foreign company was hired to train and certify our boat operators on mainly international nautical standards.
Depending on the location and whether it is a recertification or re-certification, the cost can range from $ 360 to $ 650 per person, in addition to the cost of travel and accommodation at the hotel.
TCI having some of the best and brightest boat captains, could this be a personalized program or a certification offered at a trades school?
This particular program should include, but also in a limited way, best practices in local regulations and navigation charts for local waters to help seafarers better understand the skills they are learning.
It could also be a joint effort between the school, DECR and maritime departments with qualified personnel to help facilitate such training.
Other courses of interest should include hospitality, marine mechanics, carpentry, air conditioning technicians, etc. More specifically, areas where it would give students the opportunity to do an apprenticeship on the islands.
Not only will we have a higher level of skilled workers and artisans, but it will help alleviate the need for such dependence on foreign labor, besides providing a source of easy recruitment. available.
In short, in my opinion, education should always take precedence over building more prisons. As concerned citizens, we have the choice to do, to remain silent or to make our voice heard. This is what helps push governments into action or no action.