Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Opening UNESCO Caribbean Education Planning Workshop


Welcome Remarks
Dr Kris Rampersad, Chair, Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO
At Capacity Development in Education Planning and Management in the Caribbean
14 January 2013 - A UNESCO/IIEP, CDB, UNICEF Capacity Building Workshop

Salutations!
It is with great pleasure that the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO welcomes you this weeklong process that will contribute to the development of human resource capacity of the region as we reposition ourselves meet the challenges of the coming decades in addressing the educational needs of the next generation.
We at the National Commission are in fact delivering on our mandate to facilitate regional collaboration alongside developing local capacity in the UNESCO programme areas of education, culture, science and human and social sciences, communication and technology.
Indeed, in recent times, we have played host to some significant regional fora, including the regional meetings of Ministers and other stakeholders of Social Transformation, the regional Memory of the World Committee, and soon we will also be hosting regional participants as we prepare to develop a national bioethics committee.
In these efforts we advocate the deepening and expansion of integration of not only us in the region - - and I am advised that we have here representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, Belize, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Suriname, St. Maarten, Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos;  we are also looking towards integration between and among these fields and sectors and in this, workshops like these have a pivotal role to play.
As educators, we know that challenges the fast pace of change, new technologies and breakthroughs in new knowledge impose on us.
As we prepare the next generation to meet and face these challenges, we are required to both establish sound systems and structures and formulae, while at the same time ensure that they are flexible enough to meet the changing times.
This you will address in the coming week as you help build the regional foundation in:
-         Strengthening  your skills in drafting strategic plans for education;
-         Reviewing the existing education plans;
-         Improving existing and future plans;
-         Improving implementation and monitoring;
-         Identifying education planning needs and developing an action plan and network for strengthening the institutional capacities in the Caribbean;
Indeed, we believe that you are in the right place and the right environment for this exercise in futuring and mentoring planning - and at the right time too in the midst of our pre-Lenten festival of creativity.
We hope that within your deliberations, you will find time to experience some of the weeks of satellite activities that contribute to the Greatest Show On Earth, which, has for decades been an incubator of our innovative energies, and a catalyst for the exemplary multiculturalism and seamless integration of our peoples who can trace origins to here in the Americas as well as Europe, Africa and Asia. I refer to our Carnival of course.
Some of you may know that the processes and creative elements from our Carnival are already being used in education systems across the globe as problem-solving tools; as mechanisms to harness creative energies and to stimulate creative thinking in preschoolers to advanced tertiary systems. So please consider this too as part of your workshop activities.
On behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, welcome all, and I wish you a Happy New Year, a happy Carnival and fruitful deliberations at this workshop.
Kris Rampersad

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