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Regional education recovery strategy underway

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – With the interruptions of conventional schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about learning loss, a multi-partnership is underway to establish a Model Learning Recovery and Improvement Strategy for Caribbean Schools.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)coordinated a validation workshop on Friday 18 June, to advance the development of the Strategy. Open Development & Education is the consulting firm that undertook its design.

Dr. Laurette Bristol

Speaking during the opening session of the validation exercise, Programme Manager for Human Resource Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Laurette Bristol said the initiative is to “support teachers in diagnosing and assessing the nature of learning loss, and in designing appropriate education learning plans to remediate and accelerate learning.”

Noting that it builds upon work done by the OECS Commission through its Education Response and Recovery Strategy, she said that the Regional Model Strategy should highlight to national systems, the resources needed to support schools and teachers as they navigate recovery and building back better.

She commended the partnership among CARICOM, CDB, the OECS, and the Regional Network of Planning Officers as well as wider educational partners.

Mr Rafer Gordon

Education Specialist within the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) of the OECS, Mr. Rafer Gordon, said EDMU went into high gear when it realized the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on education systems in the OECS.

This concern led to the development of Education Response and Recovery Strategy, which had the input of education stakeholders and development partners.

Mr. Rafer added that the OECS Commission received support of Global Partnership for Education to strengthen the education system against the impact of COVID-19 and one of the outputs of the interventions was the Education Response and Recovery Strategy, which has informed the design of the CDB/CARICOM/ OECS Model Learning Recovery and Improvement Strategy for Caribbean Schools.

Director of Open Development & Education, Dr Björn Hassler, who presented Strategy at Friday’s Validation exercise, said it is important that recovery mean not just getting back to where the education sector was before COVID-19, but beyond that point. Noting that COVID-19 highlighted the challenges the sector was already facing, he said that a key consideration for moving forward is “delivery of better learning outcomes for children.”

Outlining broadly the approaches the Strategy proposes, he highlighted leadership and accountability, system management, partnerships, teacher support, diagnostic tools, curriculum and resources, parental and community engagement as key components of the strategy.

Dr. Martin Baptiste

Dr. Martin Baptiste, Senior Operations Officer, Education, CDB highlighted the importance of implementing an appropriate sensitisation and dissemination strategy to ensure that principals across the region has a roadmap to guide learning recovery and improvement in schools and classrooms over the next 2-3 years – to provide students with an experience to accelerate learning. The measures will include workshops and meetings facilitated by key education partners such as the Caribbean Union of Teachers, the Caribbean Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, Teachers Colleges and Ministries of Education. Another important issue will be monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the strategy by CARICOM, CDB and OECS.

The Validation session was attended by approximately 100 representatives from Ministries of Education, the Caribbean Union of Teachers, the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools and the representatives from Regional Teacher Education Institutions.

The CDB/CARICOM/ OECS Model Learning Recovery and Improvement Strategy for Caribbean Schools will be presented at the meeting of the CDB Board of Governors and then handed over to Ministers of Education in region.

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