The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has partnered with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the CARICOM Secretariat to develop a recovery programme to assist more than one million Caribbean students who experienced learning challenges due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme Let’s REAP (Learning Recovery and Enhancement Programme) includes a developmental certification training exercise for teachers to give them the requisite tools to help students overcome learning challenges. Three thousand teachers are expected to start training next month.
During a Zoom launch on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary General for human and social development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Alison Drayton, described Let’s REAP as an important initiative following the experience of COVID-19 during which many students across the region were disenfranchised.
“Gaps in educational access equity, quality and relevance were exposed significantly as the students and families struggled to gain and maintain access through technological connections. Teachers were challenged to secure equitable relevant and quality educational learning outcomes through technology-mediated pedagogical interventions,” she said.
“At no point was the diagnostic and pedagogical divide between teachers and students greater than during the pandemic for the region.
“The gains made in the provision of universal access to basic education and strides in literacy and numeracy achievements, along with increases to access to pre primary education were eroded. It is indeed a tragedy.”
However, Drayton said Let’s REAP would put student success levels back on track in the Caribbean.
During the ceremony, Minister of Education Kay McConney, who is also the chairman of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development, said this was a much needed initiative and the training would build the capacity of teachers.
“It is a fitting response. It examines leadership and accountability, management and communication, regional and national partnerships, teacher support and collaboration, inclusion and social development, formative assessment, wellbeing of parents, family and community. The collaborative effort of REAP embraces key players within the educational sphere, education management at the national and institutional levels, parents, caregivers and the wider community. In addition, it aims to engage all educational partners to work together towards the success of our most important constituents, that’s our students,” she said. (SZB)