Go Lean Commentary
As a region the Caribbean have invested much time, talents and treasuries for the education of our youth. Hooray for our efforts! This is an honorable commitment and those laboring in this profession, as depicted in the foregoing news article, should be duly recognized and applauded.
… “do what we’ve always done, and we get what we always got” – Old Adage.
For far too often, the Caribbean has been grooming and preparing their young people to contribute and enhance the society… of other countries. And thus the intersection of the two expressions above, and this imagery: “sacrificing our babies on the altar of global trade”. See a related news story here:
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Over 50 secondary school teachers in Barbados stand to benefit from a series of workshops to be hosted by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and UK-based publisher Nelson Thornes on 7 and 8 April 2014 in Barbados.
The four workshops will be hosted over the two days and will focus on English and mathematics for the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC).
The workshops will be facilitated by Novelette McLean-Francis, senior education officer responsible for linguistics in the ministry of education, Jamaica, and a published author; and Grace Smith, a Barbadian educator and one of the authors of the CCSLC mathematics text.
Two workshops will be hosted each day and teachers from the 22 public secondary schools in Barbados are expected to attend.
Registrar Dr. Didacus Jules stated, “These CCSLC workshops are very timely as over the next four weeks CXC is working with the United Kingdom National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) to benchmark CCSLC with similar qualifications internationally.”
“Ensuring that teachers are well equipped to deliver the CCSLC programme effectively will impact positively on students’ performance and on the benchmarking exercise,” Jules noted.
“Nelson Thornes, part of Oxford University Press, is delighted to be running the workshops for teachers across Barbados for the CCSLC qualification,” Sarah Townsend, Caribbean marketing campaign manager with Oxford University Press Education Division said. “Our aim is to provide a full understanding of the syllabus and what is expected in classrooms. Alongside this, teachers will gain valuable knowledge of how the texts came together and the authors’ experience of being involved in the teaching of CCSLC.”
“Working in conjunction with CXC and the ministry of education, we have invited teachers to attend one of the sessions for either mathematics or English, and we hope to be able to fully support them in their on-going quest of teaching CCSLC English and mathematics,” Townsend explained.
The Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence was introduced to schools in Barbados in September 2013.
Source: Caribbean News Now Online News Site; posted April 3, 2014; retrieved April 4, 2014 from: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/barbados.php?news_id=20558&start=0&category_id=26
This subject matter aligns with the prime directive of the book Go Lean … Caribbean to re-boot the economic engines of the Caribbean to assuage the human flight problem that has afflicted so many Caribbean communities, for more than 50 years. The book, serving as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) posits that education has been a failure for this region. Almost everywhere else education dynamics elevate a society, raising GDP by 1 percent for every additional (aggregate) year of schooling. But this is not true for the Caribbean; even though the educated population have fostered their abilities there, they have “taken their talents to South Beach”; and South Bronx; and South Toronto; and South London; and the South Paris, etc.
So education and economics must be intertwined. This is explored in full details in the book. This roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions for escalating educational resources (and results) in the region. As a planning tool, the roadmap commences with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing regional integration (Page 12) as the approach to elevate educational opportunities:
xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.
This optimization will apply to all levels of instructions: primary, secondary and tertiary.
The strategy is to confederate all the 30 member-states of the Caribbean, despite their language and legacy, into an integrated “single market”. Tactically, this will allow a separation-of-powers between the member-states governments (including their education proxies) and federal agencies, allowing the type of third party regional oversight as identified in the foregoing article, with entities like the United Kingdom National Academic Recognition Information Centre and Oxford University Press. Notice the leanings of those organizations: British. Instead, the Go Lean roadmap advocates the multi-lingual educational guidance for English, Dutch, French and Spanish all under CU federal administration.
Under this roadmap, the CariCom-backed Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) would be integrated into a CU Cabinet Department of Education; this is detailed in the book (Page 85). Most importantly the roadmap recognizes that there are the costs dynamics for education, so the funding mechanisms are fully explored in 10 Ways to Pay for Change (Page 101).
Why is the expectation for education success so different in Go Lean…Caribbean compared to the status quo? Why haven’t the strategies and tactics described in this roadmap been employed by the member-states already?
Quite simply, the book posits that the problems for the Caribbean are too big for any one member-state to solve alone; there must be a regional solution! The problem of human flight/brain drain is described as resulting from “push-and-pull” factors. So the required solution is more than just a few bright ideas, taught in a workshop; there is the need for a new eco-system.
Go Lean … Caribbean introduces that eco-system, as a roadmap to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work, learn and play.
No more “fattening frogs for snakes”!