Decrease in enrollment anticipated for vocational institutions
The newly mandated Sixth Form Pathways Programme which will see students pursuing an additional two years of high school may negatively affect educational institutions that are non-facilitators of the programme. The Ministry of Education has made 24 private and 10 public institutions facilitators since some high schools may be unable to accommodate their own students for sixth form.
The Caribbean Institute of Hospitality is foreseeing the brunt of the Sixth Form Pathways Programme. One administrator at the institution who prefers to remain anonymous, anticipates a decrease in the number of students enrolling at the institute. Between the institute’s day and evening classes, she says day classes would be largely made up of students just graduating from high school. “The day students would run between 40 [and] 50,” she said. She added, “We would go up to 50 or so [students] because we’d have two groups of 20 [to] 25 [students] in foods and then we’d have another 10 [to] 12 [students] in the waitering [classes]. Those are the two more popular day ones.” To deal with the financial effects that will come with the expected decrease, the administrator plans to reach out to the Ministry of Education and some schools in an effort to sell some of the institute’s tools and equipment.
Donna Morris, acting principal of St. Christopher’s Nursing Academy thinks her institution will be in a similar situation. “Sometimes we get at least 15 students per semester,” Morris said, which she thinks will decrease in number due to the Sixth Form Pathways Programme.
Alicia Clarke, principal of Brilliant Quality Nursing School, said since her school is small, it usually has a cohort of up to 25 students. Clarke thinks this number will decrease and estimates a 50 per cent financial loss resulting from the decrease. She thinks the government could collaborate with community-based institutions such as hers to help with the facilitation of the Pathways Programme. “Persons are now staying in their community where everything is online. So, we could have some of these centres where they could go and access some of their course[s]. If they are not able to travel [or] if they don’t have the money, community-based [institutions]could help,” Clarke explained.
Novelett Wilson, executive director of the Sigma College of Nursing and Applied Sciences also anticipates a decrease in students. “We get a lot of high school [students] coming to us because this is a continual process for them. So, we have a lot. In fact, last year we had quite a lot coming to us about what they need to do in their final year in their exams. So, we would have less students in that sense,” Wilson said.
Despite the expected decrease, her concern mainly lies in how the two additional years of schooling will affect students. “Mentally or psychologically, there are some people who might have a problem to do so many years of education. There are some people that have to take a break,” she explained.