The need for a “whole systems’ approach to education transformation in the Region is a major area of focus for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers of Education at a 2-day meeting of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) which opened in Guyana, Thursday.
Chairman of the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture in St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Shawn Richards, in addressing the Opening Ceremony, stressed the inadequacy of incremental changes to the system to meet the needs of the “radically changed” students of this digital age.
“The imperative therefore is for systemic reform, in areas such as teacher preparation and continued professional development, in leadership training and several other technical areas. An important element of such reform is that of the architecture and governance of education systems and not merely the content of education. Failure to address these latter issues would be akin to ‘pouring new wine into old wine skins’ to use the biblical reference,” the Minister warned.
This COHSOD Meeting, under the theme” Safeguarding our Region’s Future: Reshaping Education for the 21st Century” will present recommendations to the CARICOM Commission on Human Resource Development to help shape a Regional Education and Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy.
Guyana’s Minister of Education, Youth and Sports and Culture, Hon. Rupert Roopnarine, in presenting welcome remarks, also stressed the need for the Region to take a deeper look into the problems that plague the education system.
“Not to prejudice the outcome of any review of the system, I would yet offer that we have been, by and large, conservative societies, with our establishment’s best and brightest the products of a pedagogy that has perhaps outlasted its usefulness and its relevance within the present context.”
Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, has welcomed the opportunity the meeting provides to help reshape the 21st century education requirements.
“The economic and social challenges faced by our Region stem, in significant measure, from the human resource development that is not geared to foster the competences required for working and living in the 21st century,” he said, adding that it was for this reason the Regional Heads of Government mandated the COHSOD to develop a 2030 Human Resource Development Strategy to address these issues and to establish a Commission on Human Resource Development to spearhead this initiative.
“This Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Council will provide an opportunity for Member States to brainstorm, exchange ideas and recommend policy directions for education at all levels and in particular, for achieving the levels of innovation required for competitiveness.”