Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell will launch the CARICOM Digital Skills Task Force during a virtual meeting the CARICOM Secretariat will host on Wednesday, 15 September 2021. Dr. Mitchell is the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology (including ICT) in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
The launch and inaugural Task Force meeting will feature addresses by CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, a representative Caribbean Employers Confederation (CEC), and Digital Skills experts from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Technology is at the centre of our lives and as we depend more and more on the Internet and digital communications – our students, teachers, workforce and everyday citizens must keep up with the evolving skill demand. COVID-19 has helped to put the need for digital skills in sharp focus.
The meeting will hear regional and international perspectives on the impact of digital skills and discuss the work the Task Force is expected to undertake over the next year, including identifying skills development needs for priority sectors, and creating a new agenda to accelerate the future of learning.
The CARICOM Digital Skills Task Force was established following the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in November last year. COHSOD met under the theme ‘Building Back Better: Imperatives for Human Resource Development in an Educational Crisis’ and endorsed the CARICOM Digital Skills Task Force as a body to help with the digital transformation and capacity development efforts of the Community.
The principal objectives of the Digital Skills Task Force are to:
- promote awareness of the importance of digital skills in the region for economic and social development,
- and provide technical guidance on a coordinated approach to mitigating the digital skills challenge, exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic. The pandemic highlighted the need for digital skills across the full range of the workforce – from entry-level jobs to sophisticated technology roles. More and more businesses and organisations are realising the importance of digital skills for the development of employees and added value to their entities.
The work of the Digital Skills Task Force will contribute to the continued development of the Single ICT Space and the Human resource Development Strategy 2030. The aim is to ensure access to technology so that all citizens can be converted into digital citizens with the relevant digital skills, enhancing digital literacy and helping to realign the economies of the region away from an over-reliance on lower skill employments and offer citizens the chance to develop careers and opportunities in the creative and digital economy.
Mr. Carlton Samuels (former CIO & University Director of IT-UWI, Mona) and Dr. Barbara Reynolds (former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Guyana) will co-chair the Digital Skills Task Force.
The Task Force comprises Member States, regional and international entities, including the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA), Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), University of the West Indies (UWI), CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP), Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUC), Caribbean Employers Confederation (CEC), CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Digital Skills Working Group of the Single ICT Space, and the CARICOM Secretariat.
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