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(PRESS RELEASE) – Education has always existed alongside man. Distinguished from schooling, education focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and understanding of our world and the values to navigate life.
The process of learning is central to humanity. This perspective is echoed in American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey’s statement: “Education is not preparation for Life; Education is life itself”.
The OECS Commission joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Day of Education under the theme: ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace’. This year’s theme again connects the purpose of education to life or the world around us.
The OECS Commission reiterates the need for and value of a proper education that is closely linked to present human reality. It recognizes and celebrates the contributions of national governments and regional educators in forging ahead to create the kind of experiences that will result in the most meaningful education possible for citizens of the OECS. It commends the efforts of Member States, alongside the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) of the Commission, in developing and implementing the OECS Education Sector Strategy (OESS).
The OESS is the Commission’s roadmap to education advancement, which will help realize the vision of an education system where Every Learner Succeeds.
The commitment of OECS governments to education is evident in relatively high national expenditure at about 15% total recurrent budgets.
To improve the quality of teaching and learning, the EDMU, Ministries of Education and National Teacher Education departments started a new movement with professional development (PD) for educators. That movement centers around a newly released and widely endorsed model of PD with associated products.
In 2019, approximately 117 education leaders from 4 OECS Member States were trained and certified in Education Leadership from the University of the West Indies, Mona. Currently, 150 teachers are enrolled in a Certificate Course in Reading Instruction which is being facilitated by the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Teacher Education.
To better support the integration of technology in the education system, the OECS Commission partnered with UNICEF to launch the GIGA/Project Initiative that will connect every school to fast and reliable internet, and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. The Commission is partnering with Ministries of Education towards improving student learning outcomes through the implementation of the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme.
This early grade reading intervention has impacted over 17,000 learners in reading programmes at the primary level and 750 classrooms in the OECS through 173,114 teaching and learning resources. In this project and other initiatives led by the OECS Commission, 97 schools benefited from grants valued at over 500,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars. These grants have given rise to innovative ideas such as reading instruction through agricultural experiences and virtual reality to teach Science.
Despite the accomplishments, the OECS Commission acknowledges the need for key transformations in the education system to develop the ideal OECS, and by extension, ‘Caribbean citizen’. Continued collaboration with educators across the OECS has created anticipation of some key changes to come, with a view to creating the best possible environment so that every learner succeeds. The Commission invites all citizens to celebrate life by celebrating education. Congratulations to all.