CDB & UWI to develop curriculum on Gender Socialization for Early Childhood Development Practitioners

Daniel Best (L), Director of Projects at CDB and Professor R. Clive Landis, Deputy Principal, UWI Cave Hill, shake hands after signing an agreement to develop curriculum on Gender Socialization for Early Childhood Development Practitioners

If gender inequalities in the Caribbean are to be successfully addressed, gender equality strategies must be incorporated in the educational system, beginning at the early childhood level. This includes training for early childhood development (ECD) practitioners on developing practices for gender sensitization in the early childhood setting. To address this, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is collaborating with the University of the West Indies (UWI), School of Education, Cave Hill Campus to develop a programme on Gender Socialization for ECD Practitioners. The agreement was signed on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at the University of the West Indies.

Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best, said that the project is a strategic fit with CDB’s objectives. “Gender equality is a cross cutting theme of the Caribbean Development Bank and is actively dealt with and integrated in all our developments and initiatives. Accordingly it is with great pleasure that CDB is collaborating with the University of the West Indies, School of Education, Cave Hill Campus to address the need for professional development training and capacity building among ECD practitioners.”

CDB, through its Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Programme, has approved a total of US$156,000 to finance the development of the programme, which will include:

  • Curriculum development in Gender Socialization in Early Childhood Education;
  • Regional training workshop targeting a minimum of 25 regional trainers/coordinators;
  • At least six national level training initiatives targeting a minimum of 100 teachers, educators and ECD officers;
  • Piloting the developed curriculum in a minimum of six ECD facilities, including daycare centres, preschools and primary grades, in private and public settings;
  • Evaluation of the pilot; and
  • Dissemination of teaching materials

Deputy Principal for the UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor R. Clive Landis, said that targeting children at the early childhood level is particularly relevant, as that is the period that shapes much of their learning styles. “Children who receive education which is appropriate to their gender and learning styles will indeed be able to be lifted out of poverty and to make use of learning opportunities which otherwise may have been denied to them.”

Research has shown that by age 5, children begin to internalise expectations about gendered behaviours, which leads to the adoption of traditional gender stereotypical behaviour, and persistent gender inequalities in the social and economic spheres. This programme will assist ECD practitioners to develop strategies for gender equality sensitisation in the early childhood setting, particularly among the largely female profession.   

CDB, through the BNTF Programme, has long been investing in ECD education and infrastructure in the Region, including construction and refurbishment of day-care facilities, pre-schools and primary schools. The BNTF Programme is one of the Bank’s key instruments for addressing poverty reduction. It is designed to assist poor and vulnerable communities in improving their access to basic public services through the provision of social and economic infrastructure and the development of skills to enhance employability, community management and engagement. UWI will lead the process of integrating gender socialisation in the curriculum.

CDB has identified Gender Equality as a major cross-cutting theme in in 2015-19 Strategic Plan. The Bank’s Gender Policy and Operational Strategy for Gender Equality commits it to work in partnership with stakeholders to undertake gender equality capacity building to enhance skills in gender analysis. CDB has previously provided financing for the Caribbean Institute in Gender & Development training programme, hosted by the Institute for Gender & Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit of the University of the West Indies