The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) is hosting its 38th Meeting in Guyana with a focus on the education sector across the Caribbean region. 

At the opening ceremony held today at the CARICOM Secretariat, Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater said that the meeting which will last two days is taking place at a time when CARICOM is currently working on rolling out a new Community Strategic 20191104 1
He said that moving forward, the Community continues to grapple with the issues of crime, violence and vulnerability among our youth population including the primary and secondary school children. According to Dr. Slater, there have been interventions at the member state level but we must be more robust in identifying the root causes and collectively work on finding solutions.
He said that the region’s creative capacity and its social security is impacted by the quality of our education system. As such he said that he is particularly looking forward to the prominence given to education which is one of the greatest investments in human development.
According to Dr. Slater, The main objective of the COHSOD is to examine the status of implementation of the Human Resource Development strategy which was approved by the 38th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government in July 2017 in Grenada.
He added, “The COHSOD will also review key developments with respect to the regional standards for teachers, teacher educators and technical leaders, the task force on the Caribbean new school model and regional and national reporting mechanisms for the sustainable development goals among others.”news 20191104 3
Minister of Education, Dr. the Hon. Nicolette Henry in her presentation said that the quality of education is ultimately determined by the learning outcomes that students take from school and the competencies they would develop to lead productive lives.

“That quality education is not only about access to education, but it also requires a reorientation of the education system that provides the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which respond to individual, national and global needs and expectations. Quality education encourages the development of critical thinking which fosters the desire and capacity for lifelong learning”, Minister Henry noted.
Minister Henry added that a critical part of the discussions at the 38th Meeting of COHSOD should be centred on how parents can be better prepared to contribute to an enabling environment.
She said that the region has to continually reinforce the importance of all stakeholders in the education of children. “Here in Guyana we continue to drive policies and programs designed to respond to the needs of our country and improve efficiency, effectiveness and equity in education delivery,” Minister Henry explained.
Minister Henry said that she is looking forward to fruitful discussions that will inform policy development and improve education delivery regionally.
Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque in his remarks said that Human Resource Development must be one of the main engines for regional growth and development. He said that was one of the driving forces to cause the Heads of Government to call for and approve the CARICOM Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy.
Ambassador LaRocque noted that the strategy provides a converged action by CARICOM member states in the fields of education and training with the intent of unlocking Caribbean human potential.
He said that at the heart of the strategy is the construction by 2030 of a globally competitive, innovative and seamlessly integrated education system to drive inclusive sustainable development in the region.
Further, he said that expected outcomes of this 38th Meeting is for COHSOD to seek consensus and activate concrete actions on a number of issues including, the need for a holistic response to the implementation of the HRD Strategy which requires increased and deepened inter-connectivity between regional and national agencies; active leadership at all levels to ensure sustainability for the innovative institutional mechanisms needed in member states and regionally to be implemented, enforced and monitored for impact and the need to critically examine at the local and regional levels the barriers that stymie educational delivery and human capital development at all levels of the education system.

Also delivering remarks was Mr. Clare Browne, Director of Education in Antigua and Barbuda who delivered remarks on behalf of the Minister of Education in Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Michael Browne. The meeting is being held under the theme, “The CARICOM Human Resource Development Strategy 2030: From Aspiration to Action”
Participating in the discussions are Ministers of Education from across the region and senior representatives of Education Ministries.