With a long history of providing insufficient schooling for children, the Caribbean education system is making progress in improving its conditions. According to former Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, Caribbean countries are in need of “a new kind of school.”
The 13th biennial conference of the Schools of Education of the University of the West Indies took place on June 20 to June 23. During this conference, educators from the United Kingdom, the United States and the Caribbean discussed the changes that are to be made to the Caribbean education system. The theme of the conference was “Envisioning Future Education: Cross-Disciplinary Synergy, Imperatives and Perspectives,” which addressed the importance of improving the state of the Caribbean education system for future generations.
In past years, governments throughout the Caribbean focused on increasing the enrollment rates of primary and secondary schools; however, this improvement in quantity did not have the same effect on the quality, making future education quality a main focus of development.
Caribbean governments are increasing funding for their education systems, as well as developing curriculums to better prepare students for issues facing the economy, climate change, food security and water conservation. They hope these efforts will help make the Caribbean more sustainable.
Also, parents throughout the Caribbean are being encouraged to put greater importance on their childrens’ education by preparing them well ahead of their school years and educating them on prominent concepts and defining features of the Caribbean.
The Caribbean education system has consistently lacked proper safety measures throughout its schools, so Caribbean governments are putting an emphasis on improving safety conditions. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has developed a toolkit to test vulnerabilities of schools throughout the Caribbean. Additionally, schools are implementing safety policies and hazard risk data assessments to understand how they might be at risk of damages due to natural disasters and other hazards. Thus, schools will be better prepared in the case of an emergency and staff and students will be aware of these potential threats and how to handle them.
With the precautions taken by CDEMA and the efforts being made by governments throughout the Caribbean, it is expected that the education system will soon see improvements. This “new kind of school” will provide students with a better understanding of the issues Caribbean countries are facing and ways to improve them for future generations.
– Kassidy Tarala