Primary School in Antigua and Barbuda, ©UNESCO Kingston/R. Parua

Improving planning in the Caribbean

IIEP co-organizes a regional workshop from 14 to 18 January

Globalization, rapid economic growth, and socio-cultural changes have engendered new challenges for human resources development in the Caribbean. While the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean have made remarkable progress in terms of access to basic education for all and to the subsequent education levels, their education systems are currently confronted with increasing expectations to: expand education and training at post-basic levels, improve the quality of education provided at all levels, and increase the relevance of education and training programmes for employment and sustainable livelihood in general.

In order to respond to these challenges in a consistent and sustainable manner, education systems need careful planning, programming, and budgeting, as well as mid-term reviews to keep on track and achieve their educational development goals. Yet national capacities for the preparation and implementation of educational sector strategies are often not aligned with national development plans.

Almost all Caribbean SIDS have developed, in recent years, one or more medium-term strategic plan for the education sector, reflecting their conviction that effective planning contributes towards good governance and can build inclusive and responsible education systems.

The drafting and implementation of these plans has not followed the same steps everywhere and has been more successful in some countries than in others. This is mostly due to a lack of capacities in some countries and/or a lack valid and reliable data. As a result, some plans pay insufficient attention to core issues on the agenda now in the Caribbean, such as the relationship between education and the world of work, the need to improve quality, and the objective of universalizing secondary education.

A need to learn from others: sharing experience across countries

Nevertheless, there have been numerous interesting initiatives and innovative experiences. This variety of experiences invites an enriching discussion between educational planners from these different countries.

Against this background, the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, in collaboration with IIEP, the Caribbean Development Bank, the UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area – and with the support of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education and the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO – has decided to organize a workshop which will bring together educational planners from the English- and Dutch-speaking countries in the Caribbean region, as well as Haiti,* to take place in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) from 14 to 18 January 2013.

Educational planners and managers play an instrumental role in designing, implementing, and monitoring education policies to provide quality education to their citizens. In view of the dynamic and increasingly complex nature of education development, planners in the region need to strengthen and enhance their understanding of this complex field and their awareness of international experiences.

This regional seminar will provide the participants with an opportunity to discuss these issues together. It will also strengthen their expertise to improve planning in their respective countries and so help ensure that planning contributes to the achievement of EFA goals.

The workshop aims to:

  • create regional dialogue to identify key education planning challenges and emerging issues to be addressed, in particular beyond 2015;
  • achieve better understanding of, and identify appropriate responses to, these challenges through systematic child-centred education planning;
  • review the quality of existing education sector plans;
  • identify capacity needs to be strengthened;
  • support strengthening of linkage between national plans and regional planning frameworks;
  • monitor and evaluate strategies;
  • establish an education planning network for the Caribbean to share best practice and information;
  • raise awareness for post-2015 EFA planning.  

>> Download the detailed agenda of the workshop

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* Participating countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, Belize, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Suriname, St. Maarten, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos.