Towards a new policy to shape the future of education in the Caribbean

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When the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) launches its new Education and Training Policy and Strategy later in 2016, it will have had the input of some of the Caribbean Region' key stakeholders. The Bank has undertaken a consultative process to ensure that the document, which will guide its funding and support for education and training in the Region, is aligned to countries' specific needs. In addition to guiding the Bank' development assistance to its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs), the Strategy and Policy will take into account regional and global agendas on education. “As we contemplate a new education development agenda, we should be innovative and bold," said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB during the opening of the Regional Consultation on the Development of the Bank' New Education and Training Policy and Strategy at CDB in Barbados on July 25, 2016. “The new Policy and Strategy will focus our attention on the existing disparities within the system and will be designed to strengthen the capacity of education systems in BMCs. It will help these countries achieve positive learning outcomes and contribute to building a high-quality knowledge economy in the Region," she noted. For three days, from July 25 to 27, 2016, stakeholders in education from around the Region attended the Consultation. Attendees got a first look at the draft of the Education and Training Policy and Strategy, shared knowledge and experiences, and provided comments on the document. The agenda included a number of sessions, which explored: the current state of education in the Caribbean; stakeholders' collective responsibility for promoting a culture of lifelong learning in the Caribbean Region; factors which contribute to or impede success in education; issues of access to, and equity and participation in education and training, including those related to special education; and how to better link education systems to labour markets and the world of work. Participants who attended the Consultation, which was held in Barbados from July 25 to 27, 2016. Dr. Didacus Jules, Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission delivered the keynote speech. Presenters and session chairs included Chief Education Officers from Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands; and Her Honour Senator Kerry-Ann Ifill, President of the Senate of Barbados. Senator Ifill is visually impaired and has shared widely on her education experience in the Barbados education system in a number of global fora. CDB' new Education and Training Policy and Strategy builds on the results of a comprehensive review of the existing 2004 Policy and Strategy. The development of the new version complements CDB' ongoing collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to prepare a Regional Human Resource Development Strategy and Action Plan.

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