– as strategic consultation to address needs of Region commences
A strategy that will enable the optimum development of the people of the Caribbean Community is imminent. Once it materialises it will essentially ensure that the human resources are not only internally cohesive and productive, but externally acceptable and competitive.
This was the assertion of Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, when he addressed a consultation that addressed plans for the implementation of a Regional Education and Human Resource Development Strategy by 2030. The consultation was held yesterday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), Kingston, Georgetown.
The forum represented a collaborative tactic between the Ministry of Education and the Caricom Secretariat to suitably advance human resource development and education.
According to Minister Roopnaraine, yesterday’s forum was in fact one among a series of territorial consultations which are being convened to ensure that the proposed strategy is in fact a reflection of the collective will of the people of the Caribbean community.
Among those who were slated to participate yesterday were educators and other key stakeholders in education.
According to the Minister, in the quest to realise optimum development, it is undeniable that human resource development is critical and education is essential.
And it was with this historic mission in mind, and confronted by the current developmental and global challenges that the Caricom Heads of Government and Heads of State at their March 2014 Summit mandated, “the establishment of a Commission on Education and Human Resource Development with the task of shaping a Regional Education and Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy.”
The Strategy, according to the Minister, was identified at the 2014 Summit as a pivotal product of the policies and strategies intended “to ensure the future socio-economic and political development of the Region.”
The ensuing task therefore, Minister Roopnaraine noted, is at the very foundation and future of the society. And he made it clear yesterday that education was a key factor in getting the region to where it needs to be. “As I frequently say, if education fails, everything else will fail.”
The Minister asserted that the idea of the strategy, in some regards, seems to be responsive to global developments. He moreover noted that Caricom needs to keep up the global trends, even as it applies global imperatives to the global circumstances.
“Those circumstances are best known by us, and therefore demands of us that we participate in fashioning the strategy to meet the aspirations and needs of our own societies,” the Minister said.
Presenting an even more in-depth background to the strategy and purpose of the consultation yesterday was Dr. Eduardo Ali, Programme Manager of Human Resource Development at the Caricom Secretariat.
He disclosed that currently the Caricom Community has in place a Strategic Plan spanning the period 2015-2019. And according to Ali, the Plan looks at models for ensuring that as environments change; as global factors impact on the Region, “we are considering what our nation states are engaged with in terms of change and how we as stakeholders in the education system and those involved in training and human resources can navigate the change to ensure that we have resilient systems of education, resilient systems of training and certainly policies and strategies that will take us forward to the future.”
Guiding the consultation yesterday was Education Sector Specialist appointed by the Caricom Secretariat, Dr. Nancy George. She pointed out that while the Caribbean Community has been able to achieve a lot in terms of standards and quality, there is still the need to look at Caricom’s strategic plan as it relates to inclusivity, equity, quality and the promotion of life-long learning that match the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Chief Education Officer (ag), Mr. Marcel Hutson, who chaired yesterday’s proceedings, pointed out that “this consultation comes at a time when there is greater recognition that education and human resource development are key and critical elements to unlocking our potential and ultimately our prosperity as a Region”.
He underscored that human resource development is a most vital area for the Caribbean Region, since ideas for innovation, quality and continuous improvement as well as other critical inputs needed to compete in the modern highly competitive world, essentially come from people and not machines.
“Indeed the extent to which people will provide suggestions for improvements in all forms will depend on a large extent on human resource development strategies within countries. Surely, if the overall human conditions are to improve, there must be an increase emphasis on human resource development,” Hutson emphasised.