Friday, December 16, 2022 — The 10th OECS Annual Meeting of Chief Education Officers/Directors and Education Planners was held from December 6-9, 2022, in Martinique, under the theme, “OECS Education - A Decennium of Partnerships and Collaboration.” The meeting, which took a hybrid format was hosted in collaboration with Collectivité Territoriale Martinique (CTM) and Académie de Martinique. This annual forum is a continuation of efforts by the OECS Commission to address the challenges facing educational institutions in the region.
According to Mrs. Sisera Simon, Programme Director of the OECS Education Development Management Unit (EDMU), “This year’s meeting sets the foundation for building a stronger knowledge bridge in the region through collaborative problem-solving, successful change management, and data-driven decision making."
The key recommendations from the meeting were:
- To develop a Child Online Protection Policy Framework and Strategy, which would seek to protect children online. This would also include the establishment of a Child Online Protection Committee and the launch of a Child Online Protection awareness campaign.
- To increase access to higher education throughthe inclusion of a regional approach to internships in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET). This would give consideration for the creation of a task force to develop a strategy that would present Université des Antilles (UA) as a tertiary education option for Caribbean students.
- To strengthen data collection and access through a regional Education Management Information System (EMIS) to inform decision making. This access to data will facilitate improved decision-making to address issues facing the education system.
- To increase opportunities for professional development for building teachers’ capacity and to drive change.
The OECS Commission highlighted continued professional development opportunities available through the OECS Programme for Education and Relevant Learning (PEARL), and the Digital Education Capacity-Strengthening Initiative (DECI) for leadership training and content development.
Reflecting on the challenges facing regional Education, Mrs. Angella Finlay, a Chief Education Officer and participant from Grenada, underscored the importance of stakeholder buy-in to assist the transformation of the education system. Mrs. Finlay stated: “We need to improve buy-in from all stakeholders to realise an effective change management process. Those who are critical to the change process, the principals, the teachers and the parents, need to be sufficiently informed so that their input can make the difference that we desire.”
As part of the three-day event, the team engaged in site visits to schools, including the Edmond Lucien Valard Secondary School, a champion school for sustainable development education, Lycee Nord Caraïbe Hospitality Institution, where students are afforded practical opportunities for learning, and Universite des Antilles, which provides opportunities for all students of the OECS.
The OECS has developed an Education Sector Strategy (OESS), with the ultimate goal being: “Every Learner Succeeds.” Its fulfilment lies heavily on the collaboration of education leaders and the ability to strengthen the education system. This year’s meeting provided an opportunity to strengthen technical cooperation with Francophone Member States – Martinique and Guadeloupe – with opportunities for internships in both territories. These responsive and targeted approaches have the ultimate goal of improved quality of life for all OECS citizens.