A Message From The Web Platform Committee

Professor Disraeli Hutton

Chairman of  the Web Platform Committee

With the onslaught of the coronavirus in 2020, there were concerns that many of the activities we perform normally, including the planning and executing of conferences, would have to be suspended for some time. Most countries had to enforce social distancing, restrict local and international travel, and avoid the gathering of people. But with the basic technology available, it was up to those with the expertise to give us what is now called the ‘virtual conference’. Unlike events such as sports, major international conferences were held virtually after it was determined that the pandemic would continue to disrupt our normal way of doing things. Over the past 12 months, hundreds if not thousands of conferences have been held across the world because the required technology was made available at a manageable cost and easy access.

The Caribbean TVET Conference will take full advantage of the benefits of having a virtual conference, and as a result, we expect to have up to three times the number of participants attending over the previous four face-to-face conferences. More importantly, because the Zoom technology is being employed for the 2021 TVET conference, we anticipate having participants from most if not all the 17 states within CARICOM and our usual contingent from across the world is expected to be among the over five hundred participants who will gather virtually for the 2021 TVET Conference. Access is another significant benefit for the conference, and this is further facilitated by the payment of registration fee of no more than US$10.00 which is a minute fraction of the cost of the normal face-to-face conference. With students being required to pay just US$5.00, we expect TVET students across the education system to take advantage of this opportunity to attend and participate. In many ways, your personal safety from the hazards of traveling across continents and the exposure to the virus is another benefit of the conference. Even those who are not yet vaccinated can take full advantage of the conference from the comfort of their homes.

The 2021 TVET conference will replicate previous conferences in terms of format and breadth of activities. It will be delivered over three (3) days with the normal presentations including keynote speaker, guest speakers and messages from our partners. The conference activities will be centered around the concurrent synchronous presentations, panel & roundtable discussions, symposia and exhibitions. There will also be opportunities for participants to relax and have fireside chats and other meet and greet activities in the networking/chat room.

The smooth presentation of the programme will be in the hands of approximately sixty (60) technical moderators and session chairs, and anyone can join virtually to participate. Because the virtual conference will be a new experience of the Caribbean TVET conference, every effort was made to provide the requisite training for the facilitators, presenters, organizers, and even participants in some cases. In fact, this is the only way to guarantee that the conference will be of the highest caliber, especially having it being delivered under continuous learning conditions.

For the next Caribbean TVET Conference in 2023, we expect that the pandemic will subside, or at least, it will not be a global threat. Hence, with the new normal, the modality for the conference will be a combination of face to face and the virtual technology. We will indeed benefit from both worlds.