This workshop brought together educators from across the OECS Member States to learn techniques to sharpen the abilities to facilitate the teaching and learning process online. This is critical given the pivot to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and vulnerability of the education system in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to natural disasters.
Sisera Simon, Programme Director, OECS Education Development Management Unit, remarked that
The vision is that with the use and creation of free online educator resources to support teachers in the new digital learning environment, teachers in the region will be able to create interactive and engaging lessons plans for all types of learners, providing equitable access to resources for all our studens and parents will spend less on educational content, whether digital or traditional.
The workshop also equipped educators with the tools and knowledge required to develop and identify material that they can use in the classroom. Following the DECI workshop, participants will work with school leaders in their respective countries, to facilitate national workshops to share their new skills and knowledge with the broader educator community- sharing the initiative's free online classroom resources and supporting a wider implementation of the digital education approaches across the OECS.
Reflecting on the value of the workshop, Carine Burnette, an educational leader and participant from the Commonwealth of Dominica shared that
It is helping to improve the use of free online teaching and learning resources in Dominica. We can now model at a national level how to assist teachers in creating, evaluating, and adapting these resources for everyday use in both the physical and virtual classroom.
In fulfilment of its mission, the OECS Commission strategically designs and implements regional initiatives which address challenges affecting the region's education sector as well as promotes collaboration and integration in education development among its Member States and development partners. DECI will continue its work to improve the quality, flexibility, and accessibility of education, to better prepare the region to continue providing learning opportunities in the event of any threat, such as a hurricane or pandemic, which may cause the suspension of in-person or face-to-face learning.
The OECS' Digital Education Capacity-Strengthening Initiative (DECI) is a digital education program designed for the Early Grade Education Sector in the OECS. It will build the capacity of six hundred (600) principals and teachers in content development in an effort to enhance teaching as well as the learning experience of students Grades K to 3. DECI will produce three thousand (3000) culturally relevant and curriculum-aligned courses that can be freely accessed by teachers, students and parents through an OECS platform. DECI is an OECS project funded by USAID through UNICEF.