Education Minister, of St Vincent and the Grenadines and new Chairman of the OECS Ministers of Education, Hon. Curtis King has described the recently held Ministers of Education Conference as productive and useful but said integration and implementation are key components to the effective execution of their decisions.
Speaking at a Press Conference at the close of the 2-day conference Minister King pointed out the issue of neglect of ICT integration which was highlighted during the pandemic and added that this is an area that needed more preparation. The Education Minister acknowledged the deficiencies and also stressed that plans are being made to tackle this situation.
Minister King disclosed local initiatives such as the procurement and distribution of laptops and devices to students in the primary and secondary schools; along with some students at the post-secondary level, to support the integration of ICT in the teaching learning experience. The Education Minister stressed that teaching will not be the same after Covid-19 and the region must be in a better position to be more resilient in reducing the level of disruptions to learning.
Minister King outlined the importance of mobilising resources among regional stakeholders, while creating a structure that facilitates development.
Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, commended outgoing Chair and Minister of Education of St. Lucia, Hon. Sean Edward and incoming Chair, Hon. Curtis King for their outstanding work in ensuring the meetings and other duties were performed efficiently.
Dr. Jules said that institutions must be reconfigured in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The OECS Director General said that Technical and Vocational sessions, that are more practical in nature will need smaller groups in sessions; while academics can function better with online classes going forward.
These suggestions came against the backdrop of Dr Jules’ view that the world is not seeing the final wave of the pandemic and stressed that this has implications for teachers and teacher education. The OECS Director General stated that it’s crucial “to take a fresh look at what is now required of teachers, since you must go beyond chalk and talk,” to embrace a new pedagogy with the redesigning of teaching and the curriculum.
The 7th OECS Ministers of Education meeting hosted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines culminated with a press conference on Friday, 18th February at the NIS conference room.