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CARICOM pilots school recovery and improvement strategy

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Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2021. 1:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission have partnered on a Model Learning Recovery and Improvement Strategy for Caribbean Schools project, addressing the interruptions of conventional schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about learning loss as a result.

The strategy was developed by consulting firm Open Development & Education and validated by a workshop held on June 18. 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.”

The Regional Model Strategy, she added, should highlight to national systems, the resources needed to support schools and teachers as they navigate recovery and building back better.

Education Specialist within the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) of the OECS, 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.

The organization was supported by 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 OECS’s Academic Recovery Programme, 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, 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, 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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