Thursday, November 18, 2021 — The unprecedented demands of the COVID-19 pandemic on education sectors across the region have exposed critical vulnerabilities and reiterated the urgent need to advance actions toward the harmonisation of educational systems amongst Member States.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission continues to work assiduously towards this mission. Guided by the overarching mandate of regional integration, the Commission seeks to ensure common standards in education across the sub region.
Due to the complexity and varying degrees of development across Member States, however, the response to regional integration must be shared and prescriptive. Successful change in the education sector will require extraordinary leadership efforts by regional institutions, development partners, governments, education planners, students, teachers and families to build resilience and reduce disparities within the student population.
The OECS Commission, through its Education Development Management Unit (EDMU), is calling on all Member States to support plans for a much-needed revolution in the region’s educational systems.
Programme Director of the EDMU, Sisera Simon, emphasised the critical need for a united front on education noting that “it is only through collective will that joint plans to reshape the OECS education sector will be successful.”
Months of consultations and engagements with Member States and other education stakeholders will culminate in the two-day OECS Education Forum. The virtual event is scheduled for November 23-24, 2021 from 9 am to 12:30 pm, under the theme: “OECS Education Towards a Learning Crescendo”. The event, with its theme, evinces a determination to shape a future that will emanate from the challenges of the pandemic rather than be shaped by it.
A main objective of the two-day forum is the development of an OECS Declaration on Education. The Declaration will be informed by stakeholders across the OECS and the Diaspora who are presently sharing their perspectives on the current state of education in the OECS. These ideas will be juxtaposed against educational projections for the future and guided by lessons learnt from the pandemic.
In addition to the Declaration on Education, other intended outcomes of the Forum include:
- Revised conceptualisations of education – learning from the COVID-19 pandemic (social and economic inequities);
- Agreed strategic shifts in education development, management and implementation to benefit children of the OECS and the actions to achieve these shifts; and
- Identified and described synergies and linkages among national, regional and international initiatives and partners for improved education development, management and implementation.
Forum Guest Speaker, Dr Linda Darling-Hammond, is a Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University and Founding President of the Learning Policy Institute. The Institute was created to provide high-quality research for policies that enable equitable and empowering education for each and every child. In 2006, Dr. Darling-Hammond was named one of the United States’ ten most influential people affecting educational policy and led the Obama education policy transition team in 2008 and the Biden education transition team in 2020.
All educators, and all citizens with a vested interest in the education of children from the OECS, are encouraged to embrace this opportunity to be represented and have their voices heard in shaping a better future for every learner, where truly: Every Learner Succeeds.
To contribute to the OECS Declaration on Education, take the survey and share your ideas.