(Press release) Paris, France: A few days into the New Year, the UN specialised Paris-based agency, UNESCO, confirmed to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis some positive developments. This has resulted in the twin-island Federation being identified for high-level expertise and assistance in developing its education policy framework.
Following months of intense efforts submitting proposals to, and lobbying at, UNESCO headquarters in Paris, on the basis of some five substantive technical assistance projects identified by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, two central projects have been approved by UNESCO experts, with funds just under US $50,000.
These encompass implementing an institutional framework for professionalising the teaching force and strengthening the Federation’s accreditation systems and processes of higher-level qualifications.
Ms. Dorothy Warner, Secretary-General of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO explained: “The National Commission formulated five distinct projects under the UNESCO biennial Participation Programme. These were submitted to solicit technical assistance of up to US$26,000 per project. Under this Programme, UNESCO provides assistance to its Member States in the Organization’s fields of competence, covering Education, Natural Science, Social Science, Culture, Communication and Information”.
The Federation will soon start working with a UNESCO-appointed expert who will guide the Ministry of Education in the development of a National Teacher Qualification Framework aimed at enhancing and targeting teacher recruitment, and the design and development of a national teacher education curriculum framework for pre-service teacher education. This will cover professional teachers across the entire education system of St. Kitts and Nevis, accompanied by guidelines, frameworks and standards for the accreditation of Teacher Education Programmes and Continuous Professional Development Programmes, which all fall under the auspices of a new National Teachers’ Council.
Parallel work with two other UNESCO-appointed experts will be pursued in strengthening the Federation’s National Accreditation Framework for reviewing and approving higher-level qualifications in the post-secondary sector. It also includes the drafting of a legislative framework with policies and procedures to be followed by the reformed Accreditation Board, covering accreditation policies, registrations and accreditation. The measures are designed to create education qualifications that singularly match the Federation’s labour needs.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. Geoffrey Hanley commented: “On behalf of the Government of St Kitts and Nevis, I express our gratitude to the education policy experts at UNESCO, and the Assistant Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, for allocating timely and focused technical assistance to our twin-island Federation to strengthen our education framework”.
“The singular focus on developing a structured policy framework and implementation guidance in the two areas of UNESCO input – accreditation of higher diplomas and professionalisation of teachers – will align the Federation’s education environment with the best international standards, while taking account of the specificities of a small island developing state.”
Upon notification by UNESCO of the Federation’s success in securing this education policy technical assistance, with concomitant funding, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris, Ambassador Dr. David P. Doyle, met late last year with Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, to express the gratitude of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ms. Giannini, UNESCO’ head of education, noted: “We are delighted to have worked with St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ministry of Education on these two important capacity-building education projects. Evidence-based cases from other UNESCO countries would suggest that a combination of the newly-structured education accreditation and professionalization frameworks will significantly contribute to quality training and pedagogical outcomes of value to students.”
Ambassador Doyle stated: “The UNESCO Participation Programme and other related technical assistance funds have been extensively employed by St. Kitts and Nevis for the past 15 years to seek leading-edge expertise and hands-on technical guidance in the areas of education, water resilience policy, cultural heritage and biodiversity. St. Kitts and Nevis has secured just under $200,000 of capacity-building finance from UNESCO in the present 2022-2023 cycle. As a small island state, we continue to be active via UNESCO expertise in areas of critical importance to the country’s development strategy”