The Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training was established in 2001 as an arm of Government that would foster the development of a rich, diverse, highly capable and adaptable Human Resource pool. Since this time the organization has experienced significant growth in its capacity and in the delivery of product and services. These initiatives have all been designed for the betterment of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Ministry provides a number of programmes which are geared toward the development of a more diversified and knowledge intensive economy. Such initiatives have been developed to enable a smooth and seamless transition from primary and secondary education to tertiary education, encouraging industrial growth and development for enhancing economic stability.
Unconventional avenues for achieving and ensuring a highly competitive and competent Human Resource pool have been realized through the establishment of a number of new and accredited qualification schemes such as the Caribbean Vocation Qualification (CVQ), previously the Trinidad and Tobago National Vocational Qualification (TTNVQ).
Since its inception the Ministry has successfully launched and implemented a number of Tertiary Education and Technical Vocational Education training programmes within its portfolio and these include:
The Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) Programme
Since its inception the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) Programme has become synonymous with tertiary education. The programme is accessible to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago pursuing tertiary level education, who have been resident in Trinidad and Tobago for a minimum period of three years prior to submitting an application for funding. GATE is applicable for programmes of study that lead to recognised tertiary level qualifications.
GATE is available to citizens pursuing approved programmes at local and regional public and private tertiary level institutions.
The programme was also implemented parallel to the establishment of the Accreditation Council which ensures that all providers of tertiary education programmes ensure that they operate within set criteria for the delivery of quality tertiary education. It also ensures that programmes offered by institutions are relevant both locally and regionally and in sync with international standards.
The Higher Education Loan (HELP) Programme
The HELP Programme provides further financial assistance for expenses attached to tertiary education. This soft loan facility has enabled students to enjoy the full benefits of the tertiary education experience by allowing them access to a number of critical resources which were not afforded under the GATE grant initiative/grant.
Students can access loans at a maximum of $25,000.00 per year for the duration of the programme at local institutions and $75,000.00 per year for the duration of the programme at regional institutions.
A loan capacity of a maximum value of $25,000.00 per year for five years locally and $75,000.00 per year for five years regional is made available for Medical students.
The Distance Learning Secretariat is responsible for the development of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) at the post-secondary level in Trinidad and Tobago. Its current mandate is to provide an enabling framework via national policy and projects for the further development of distance learning offerings at existing tertiary education and training organizations in the country.
By developing standards for Open and Distance learning and strengthening Local Tertiary Institutions to broaden and increase their DL programme offerings, the Distance Learning Secretariat aims to improve the quality of the learning environment available to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Higher Education Services Division (HESD)
The Higher Education Services Division conducts planning, developmental studies, monitoring and evaluating of national higher education systems, structures, institutions and practices. This is done with respect to: Accreditation and Qualifications, Benchmarking and Performance, Colleges and Universities Curricula, Distance, Open and Education, Education Innovations, Funding and Financial Awards, Lifelong Learning Publications and Registration.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Division plans, designs, develops and monitors systems for: Labour Market Signalling, National TVET Certification, On the Job Training Programme, Retraining Programme, TVET Curriculum Planning, TVET Accreditation and National Qualifications Governance and Skills Development Programmes.