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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)  The Hon. Hazel Manning, Education Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has underscored the role of education in human development and in the wider context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Minister Manning was addressing the Experts Forum of the Conference on the Caribbean under the theme 'Addressing Quality and Equity in Social Development'. The Experts Forum, which began on 19 June, continued today Wednesday 20 June at the World Bank, Washington DC.

The Conference, organised in collaboration with the World Bank, the OAS and the IDB, is structured to provide opportunities for interaction Government to Government, People to People and between Governments and People in three parallel events – an Expert Forum hosted by the World Bank, a Private Sector Forum, hosted by the IADB and a Diaspora Forum hosted by the OAS.

According to Minister Manning, a quality education system is the foundation of the social fabric of society. She stressed the need to build partnerships to be globally competitive.

The emphasis for the Region now, she said, was on the quality of education, commitments with regard to education for all, meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), multi-cultural issues and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) concerns.

Among the topics that were addressed at this morning's Forum were 'How to better integrate education with Labour Market Demands'; 'How to expand cooperation in Education and Training, Develop Tertiary Education Institutions and Promote Networking within the Region and Externally' and 'Capacity Building for the use of ICTs to Improve Learning'.

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