Using Science, Technology and Innovation for the Caribbean Region
Cariscience is a sub-regional network of scientists bent on upgrading the academic excellence of graduate, postgraduate and R&D programmes in the Caribbean. Cariscience was launched in June 1999 in Jamaica and operates under the auspices of UNESCO.
The network strives to strengthen theoretical and practical knowledge in basic and applied sciences in the Caribbean, to increase the number of postgraduate and R&D programmes, and foster ties between these programmes. It also fosters linkages with the productive sector. Cariscience coordinates exchanges between researchers, teachers and students, organizes joint research projects and regional courses, supports curriculum development and the training of science teachers. It is also supporting the development of an accreditation and evaluation system for postgraduate science programmes.
Following a major conference in Trinidad & Tobago in May 2006 on 'Harnessing Science and Technology for Caribbean Development', the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the non-governmental association Cariscience and UNESCO have continued cooperation in assessing the STI situation in the Caribbean.
A two-week consultancy mission in December 2006 by Dr Khotso Mokhele (former President and Chief Executive Officer of South Africa's National Science Foundation) and follow-up discussions and contacts has led to a proposed regional implementation plan, with eight principal recommendations.
Background and details are given in an informal 12-page document dated 16 October 2007 made available by UNESCO's International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP) to the UNESCO General Conference. For further information, contact the M. Nalecz, Director of UNESCO's Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences (m.nalecz(at)unesco.org) or the Director of the Kingston Office (Kingston(at)unesco.org).
Subsequently, the Mokhele report was considered by a high level CARICOM meeting in Grenada on 9 April 2008 on 'Using Science, Technology and Innovation to Change the Fortunes of the Caribbean Region'. Among the recommendations of the meeting was that to establish a Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) 'as soon as possible to develop STI … for the region's development'. A proposal for the CSF – presented through the Chair of the CARICOM Steering Committee on S&T to Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada – will be considered by the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in July. This and other recommendations feature in the Final Report of the meeting, which also includes recommendations by Dr Khotso Mokhele, under the consultancy commissioned by UNESCO and CARICOM. The April meeting was funded by the Government of Grenada, UNESCO's Office in Jamaica and Cariscience.
Another follow-up to the May 2006 meeting was a regional conference on science education, held in Ocho Rios (Jamaica) in November 2007. The focus was on the transformation of science education at the primary level, with particular emphasis on enhancing innovation and sustainable development.Back to top