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OECS Education Ministers Meet in Tortola

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Contact: Richmond Felix

November 4, 1998 - The 11th meeting of the OECS Education Reform Council takes place in Roadtown, Tortola BVI from November 5 to 6, 1998. The Council comprises Ministers of Education of the nine OECS member states. It is the policy-making body for the Education Reform Strategy that is being undertaken in the sub-region.

This is the first Council meeting for St. Lucia’s Education Minister the Honourable Mario Michel. Mr. Michel views harmonization of the region’s education system as the logical way to go given recent trends in functional and economic cooperation. "It ought not to be the case that in a small region such as ours you move from St. Vincent to St. Lucia and have to be confronted with a different type of education system," said Michel. The Minister believes that the initiative to harmonize education within the region, will hold significant benefits for all of the territories of the OECS.

Apart from harmonization, the OECS Education Reform Strategy is also aimed at improving the education system. One of the primary intentions is to mobilize the Governments and Peoples of the OECS, to make the transition from development based on the exploration of natural resources, to strategies based on developing human resources. Michel "The fact is we are limited in our own natural resources and therefore we’ll never really be able to compete in the sphere of natural resources. If we could use our small size and our small populations to our advantage, in intensely developing our human resources, then we would be able to compete much better with the outside world."

The report of the OECS Education Reform Strategy, institutional arrangements for its management, and support projects, are just some of the issues down for discussion. Minister Michel will be reporting on the extent that St. Lucia has been able to implement some of the recommendations coming out of the OECS reform initiative and on the timetable for instituting other recommendations.

During the meeting the Ministers will elect a new Chairperson, and also receive submissions from the Commonwealth of Learning and the Caribbean Examinations Council. The Education Reform Council is responsible for overall leadership and direction of the OECS Education Reform Strategy, and establishing strategic objectives, and approving specific plans and programs for its execution.


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