19.06.2017 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

Caribbean countries boost their planning, monitoring and assessment capacities for meeting global education targets

Delegates from Caribbean nations met in Barbados at the “Regional Technical Workshop on Planning, Monitoring and Assessing the Sustainable Development Goals: Education Goals”. The event took place from June 6 through 9 and was organized by UNESCO's Cluster Office for the Caribbean (UNESCO Kingston) and the Caribbean Development Bank.

The workshop brought together experts from regional organizations who lead programs for meeting SDG 4: quality education as well as professionals responsible for making decisions at the national level from the 19 Education Ministries across the Caribbean, including the heads of education, educational planning and statistics departments.

This subregional event is an effort by the international agencies present in the region to work together in developing the capacities for planning strategic policies, as well as reinforcing educational monitoring and assessment systems in the Caribbean countries. Juan Cruz Perusia, regional advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) said, “national statistics systems are currently under a lot of pressure to begin to generate more and better data that will reveal if a quality, equitative education is really being achieved, which is the commitment of the new Education 2030 Agenda. The event served to present the main technical challenges to measuring progress in the different priority areas and to generate the foundations of a strategy for addressing them.”

The need for technical cooperation and capacity building in countries was identified. It was also agreed to implement an efficient mechanism for association and coordination between regional institutions so as to optimize the technical and financial support for Caribbean countries for implementing SDG 4-Education 2030.

Activities of this type are necessary to keep advancing as, while the Caribbean has made significant achievements in education, it still faces important challenges to reaching the 2030 goals. Speaking at the event, Katherine Grisby, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, stated that most countries and territories in the Caribbean have succeeded in implementing universal primary education and are making laudable efforts towards universal secondary education. However she warned that the significant progress of recent decades could be compromised by the alarming early dropout rates at schools in the Caribbean, a phenomenon that happens before students complete mandatory elementary education.

Regional synergies

The global Education 2030 Agenda establishes the importance of promoting a broad concept of quality education that considers both cognitive and non-cognitive learning, which entails assessment with a broader scope, as well as regional convergence and synergies to avoid the duplication of effort.

Atilio Pizarro, general coordinator of the Latin American Laboratory for the Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE, coordinated by UNESCO) referred to this challenge, stating, “we are ready to evolve at LLECE after the education ministers recognized our work as one of the key regional mechanisms for monitoring E2030. After years of experience, we are in a position to extend this knowledge and experience to the Caribbean. The Laboratory has shown itself to be an effective mechanism for cooperation on learning assessment and capacity building, enabling countries to develop their own assessment systems, improving their educational circumstances and progressing with achieving E2030.”

During the event, the countries and agencies that participated drew up a summary of the measures adopted by countries to address planning deficiencies in education policy and they also studied the responses and regional priorities that could correct these deficiencies. Attendees received up-to-date information about the status quo of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4-Education 2030) in the Caribbean, as well as about planning recommendations, monitoring guidelines and report presentation.

The Caribbean Centre for Educational Planning was also launched at the event. This is based at the Mona campus (Jamaica) of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The Caribbean Network of Educational Planners was also revitalized and a  Consultative Committee on the Coordination of Regional Members and Donors was set up to direct and ensure greater synergy and accountability in the execution of SDG 4-Education 2030 in the subregion.

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