Dr. Neva Pemberton et al

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 05, 2016 (SKNIS): The soon-to-be-completed Education Policy Review of the St. Kitts and Nevis Education sector, currently being undertaken by UNESCO, will assist the Federation in “developing a meaningful competency driven curriculum that has at its centre 21st Century skills.”

This was stated by National Coordinator for the UNESCO Policy Review, and Education Planner in Nevis, Dr. Neva Pemberton, who backed by Paris-based Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO Dr. David Doyle secured the continuing technical expertise of the UN agency.  This would be done by means of implementing quality improvements in the system, by providing input on a draft curriculum framework, as well as offering technical assistance in developing an ICT policy for value added teaching-learning.

The one year Education Policy Review is expected to be published by UNESCO in February 2016, covering four areas: academic staff policy, curriculum, teaching and learning environments in primary and lower secondary education, and governance, planning and management, funding and (Monitoring and Evaluating) M&E policies. The selection of these areas is aligned with the renewed emphasis placed on quality and equity by the international Agenda for Education 2030.

While in Paris to present at the UNESCO International Symposium on Education Policies for 2030 in January this year, Dr. Pemberton met with UNESCO education experts involved in the review to discuss the next steps.  The UNESCO Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems and St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Education had recently validated the UNESCO Education Policy.  This will feed into a strategy document of relevant policy actions to inform the development of the ministry’s Education Sector Plan to be implemented over the next five years.

During the meeting, Ambassador Doyle commended the professional work done by Director of the UNESCO division, David Atchoarena, and his colleagues, UNESCO Chief of Development and Education Policies Francesc Pedró, and UNESCO Programme Specialist Megumi Watanabe who worked along with a national team.

“We are now keen to see a tangible follow up to this first-ever independent and penetrating review of the Federation’s education sector and map out areas that need to be critically addressed in priority”

While addressing the required UNESCO guidance toward the development of a medium-term education sector strategy, Dr. Pemberton added: “One key step that needs to be taken is to address the ‘implementation gap’ we experience between policy development and action.  Strengthening policy coordination and the development of a robust Education Management Information System (EMIS) will certainly aid in this respect.”

Mr. Pedro committed UNESCO to providing further capacity development assistance to the Federation, noting that gaps would be addressed.

“The review has reiterated the need not only to address the information gap for effective decision-making and planning but also to further develop the capacities of the national team to translate more information into evidence that informs policy,” he said.

Dr. Pemberton relayed that her focus is to ensure that recommendations are deliverable.

“While previous education plans have contributed to quality improvements in the system, especially at the early childhood level, not to mention recent investments in technical and vocational training, full implementation of these plans have proved challenging,” Dr. Pemberton said.  “The link between data availability and planning will represent a massive step forward in bringing St. Kitts and Nevis’ education policy and strategy in line with those countries that are on the leading edge of education practice.”

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education is in full support of such actions as noted during the October 2015 validation review of the UNESCO report with the UNESCO experts in St. Kitts when he said that: “effective planning will also be better able to meaningfully contribute to national sustainable development goals and global education commitments to which St. Kitts and Nevis adheres.”

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