Challenges and opportunities in the education system of Saint Lucia
Summary of KIX LAC Eastern Caribbean Roundtable
The Eastern Caribbean Roundtable was held on July 8th and it counted on the presence of the following KIX LAC representatives:
Dominica: Bekissa Labadie, Mr. Mervin Alexander, Dr. Kimone Joseph and Mrs. Octavia Timothy.
Grenada: Mrs Michelle Brathwaite, Dr.Nicole Phillip-Dowe, Mr. Frankson Marshall, Miss JudyAnn Auld and Mr. Glenroy George.
Saint Lucia: Claudia Louis and Merphilus James.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Mr. Dixton Findlay, Mrs. Michelle King Campbell and Mr. Oswald Robinson.
Dr. Verna Knight and her team at the University of West Indies (Dr. Rasheda Moody-Marshall, Dr. Jason Marshall and Dr. Kathy Depradine) presented the main findings of the research for the Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines separately, although at the end they stressed common challenges and opportunities for the sub-region.
After the presentation, some of the representatives shared their perspectives and gave inputs for further discussion. Overall, there was a collective perception that the four countries are not as different as they think they are. In this sense, Dr. Kimone Joseph (UWI – Dominica), Dr. Phillip-Dowe (UWI-Grenada) and Frankson Marshall (Teachers´Union, Grenada) highlighted this aspect.
Improving access to technology, evidenced by the COVID-19 context, was something that representatives such as Dr. Kimone Joseph, Mr. Oswald Robinson (Teachers´ Union, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) and Michelle Brathwaite (Ministry of Education, Grenada) mentioned.
Additionally, Mr. Robinson raised the topic of inclusive education and how special education is integrated into the school system. Although it wasn´t directly approached during the presentation, researchers informed that the subject is covered in the four reports. Actually, Ms. Schenelle Leonce (participant from the Ministry of Education of Saint Lucia informed us that they are working specifically to provide access to education for our special needs children.
On the other hand, both Mr. Robinson and Mrs. Brathwaite underlined the importance ofongoing training for administrators, school leaders and teachers for both emergencies and for a virtual context.
Finally, Dr. Neva Pemberton (OECS) gave the final remarks, where she emphasized the extent to which evidence-based policy action and sector planning has been and remains a developmental priority for the OECS and KIX LAC. In the end, these documents would help OECS and KIX LAC in designing some of the key activities in their new education sector program, specifically in terms of capacity building for teachers and educational leaders, to support improved learning.
As Dr. Knight pointed out, these reports are not intended to tell countries what to do. Instead, KIX LAC purpose is that they are used as inputs, especially given that Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are now in the process of developing a new sector plan.