by Joyann Gill
A new phase in the development of the education sector is set to begin tomorrow.
Government, having received financing from the Caribbean Development Bank towards the cost of a follow-up initiative, will officially launch Education Sector Enhancement Programme II tomorrow, at the CDB’s headquarters in Wildey, St. Michael.
The new programme follows on the heels of Edutech, the first ESEP launched back in 1999 and completed last year. It is designed to address critical issues of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development’s continued sector development plan. Its major objective is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of basic education in Barbados.
ESEP II will be financed through an agreement signed April 3, 2012, for a loan of US$35 million from the CDB and counterpart resources from the Government of Barbados. This new programme is also considered integral to the achievement of the goals articulated in the national Human Resource Development Strategy 2011-2016 and will further assist Government to better plan for its investments in the education sector.
Barbados has articulated a 15-year development programme for the continued enhancement of the quality of basic education. It identifies 23 primary schools requiring significant rehabilitation to address issues of deficient physical environment, overcrowding and optimising the use of information communication technology for better student achievement.
The project is, therefore, designed with three key components with the most costly dealing with physically enhancing the learning environment. Under this component, the first of those schools requiring major works will be tackled. Additionally, and more immediately, the project will also address the provision of needed classroom space at as many as 15 primary schools over the next two years.
The first primary schools selected for significant works are Chalky Mount, St. Elizabeth, Boscobelle, St. Martin’s Mangrove, Belmont and Wesley Hall. The two slated for rehabilitation/upgrade are St. Philip and Wilkie Cumberbatch primary schools.
Additionally, the programme has identified the construction of one new secondary school, some 50,000 ft2 of floor area, in the parish of Christ Church. Construction of this institution will be treated as a priority item in the phasing of the project. The project will also ensure the supply of furniture and IT equipment to all schools built or upgraded.
ESEP II is also focused on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning to improve the outcomes of basic education as the foundation for an effective education and training system.
This second key component therefore targets Improved Teacher Effectiveness and School Leadership. It will also see the development of an appropriate teacher preparation programme that will entail consultancy services to support the development of teacher education courses at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, related to improving teaching effectiveness and capacity building for the College’s staff to deliver those courses.
Capacity building for teacher effectiveness is also under this category. Eight principals and 220 teachers of the programme schools will be trained in school leadership and teacher effectiveness; another 460 principals and school management staff will also be trained in school leadership, and approximately 580 teachers will benefit from effective literacy, numeracy and science instruction.
There will also be training of 20 of the MEHR’s school supervision and curriculum officers to manage, monitor and support the teacher effectiveness strategy.
The third major component seeks to deal with Improved Education Planning and Management of the Education Sector. The related initiatives will focus on upgrading the institutional capacity of the Ministry itself, to allow it to better plan, manage and monitor the education sector. Improving overall available data on the sector and its distribution will be the thrust of this component which will ultimately strengthen the Ministry’s capacity to provide equitable access to basic education.
Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, will deliver the feature address at the launch of ESEP II at 3 p.m. A representative of CDB, will also address the launch.