The Caribbean Community Secretariat last Tuesday officially established baselines and targets for human development across the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), while virtually launching the Caricom Baseline Report for Phase 1 of the Caricom Human Resource Development (C-HRD) 2030 Strategy last Tuesday.
According to a release from the CDB, the report provides a snapshot of the region’s readiness to report on key performance indicators for Phase One of the Regional Action Plan, 2017-2021. The report also presents baselines and recommended targets for measuring access and participation, quality, equity, and relevance in basic education, skills for life-long learning, and tertiary education.
Speaking at the virtual launch, CDB’s Acting Vice-President of Operations Diana Wilson-Patrick highlighted the value of the report in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that the digital divide had exposed the vulnerable and compromised their learning opportunities and stressed the importance of sustained action to address some of the structural deficits affecting HRD in the region.
“We must correct the misalignment of education and training with labour market needs. We must chart a new direction away from the dogged persistence with traditional modes of teaching, which are out of sync with a world defined by technology, innovation, creativity, networking and 21st century competencies and skills,” Wilson-Patrick said.
In her feature address, Grenada’s Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information Emmalin Pierre, applauded the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank for the excellent partnership that had produced a much-needed human resources development strategy. She noted that it signalled a paradigm shift in the areas of data-driven interventions for the education system.
“This partnership will propel us, as policymakers, to support and implement more evidence-based approaches that result in greater benefits for the people of the region. The emphasis that will be placed on monitoring and evaluation will no doubt lead to greater results as we seek to take a united approach to address the many issues and challenges confronting us as a region,” Minister Pierre stated.
She challenged the team to work towards developing the seamless education system and policy infrastructure that is needed to sustain the vision.
“This crisis must never be an excuse for why we cannot achieve — why we cannot commit to our goals. We must still aim to achieve the goals of this strategy, as outlined. The crisis we face must, therefore, be the motivation to push ahead to quickly to fill the gaps, to quickly address the deficiencies in data and to find ways to maximise our output in education,” Minister Pierre emphasised.
Assistant secretary general for human and social development at the Caricom Secretariat, Dr Douglas Slater, said that the region was experiencing unusual times; but it was also an opportunity to actualise a vision for human development. He added that the Secretariat welcomed the collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, which resulted in the development of the Baseline Report for the C-HRD 2030 Strategy.
“I must also take the time here to recognise the critical work of the regional network of planning officers. Our education planners are Caribbean assets, guiding our ability to transform data into information for action, strengthening our capacity to ensure educational continuity and importantly designing a transformed education system that is agile and responsive in the face of crisis. This publication would not have been possible without them,” Dr Slater said.
The C-HRD 2030 Strategy, was presented and approved at the 38th Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development in 2019.