BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew Friday urged the Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) that it really changes to a greater extent the educational system that would respond to the Caribbean needs and the Caribbean people.
Delivering the feature address at the CXC’s third annual Ministerial Summit on Educational Transformation, Prime Minister Drew said the event was commemorating 50 years of CXC’s steadfast commitment to regional development, particularly in nurturing the Caribbean’s greatest resource, “our human capital.
“This is a monumental achievement, and it is a testament to the unwavering dedication of all those who have been part of this remarkable journey,” he said of the event being held under the theme “Reimagining Educational Reform – Towards Transformative Agility”.
He said an analysis of the theme underscores the profound significance of the moment, noting that in a world that is evolving at an unprecedented pace, “our educational systems must undergo a metamorphosis to equip our students with the skills, knowledge, and adaptability required to excel in a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.
“This theme resonates deeply with the pressing needs of our region, where educational reform is not just a necessity; it is an imperative.
”Today, we embark on a journey towards a brighter and more agile future, where education is the cornerstone of our transformation. Together, we shall pave the way for a new era of excellence, innovation, and boundless possibilities. So, let us set our sights high and our aspirations higher as we continue this exciting and impactful journey.”
Prime Minister Drew, who is also a medical practitioner, said a reflection on the past 50 years of the CXC and the contributions to the region’s educational landscape are boundless.
“We see a remarkable journey of progress and diversification. The knowledge and skills imparted through CXC’s programmes have empowered countless individuals to reach their full potential, contributing to the growth and prosperity of our region.”
He recalled that the late South African icon, Nelson Mandela, had once said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’ adding “in the context of our theme today, “Reimagining Educational Reform – Towards Transformative Agility,” Mandela’s words resonate deeply.
“We must recognize that education is not merely about imparting knowledge; it is about instilling the capacity for transformation and agility in our students,” Prime Minister Drew said, recalling also the advice of the Grenadian-born Trinidad and Tobago Calypso singer, the Mighty Sparrow “who in his own way understood the great significance of quality education for our youth and the advancement of our societies”.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister said it is evident that CXC understood this and 50 years ago embarked upon a journey to transform our region academically and continue to do so remarkably, raising a standard of education that is admired globally.
”In the Caribbean, our education systems must remain responsive to the unique challenges and opportunities we face. We are a diverse and dynamic region, and our educational system needs to reform, which must reflect our diversity and equip our students with the agility to adapt to changing circumstances.
“The world is changing at a pace that we cannot keep up if we don’t try, and we must ensure that our educational system”
Drew said that the CXC has made several transformative contributions to the Caribbean region over the years, including developing standardized examinations and qualifications that are recognized and admired across the Caribbean region and indeed the world.
“These qualifications provide a common benchmark for educational achievement, allowing students to move seamlessly across the region and globally, enhancing the mobility of labour and educational credentials. This is of course evident! We see our Caribbean nationals contributing majorly to the international scene in various sectors.”
He said the aribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) “are the shining stars of our educational landscape,” adding “these prestigious qualifications stand tall, recognized not only within our shores but across the globe, as passports to higher education and boundless career opportunities.
”Today, we celebrate the fruit of relentless research, a testament to CXC’s unwavering commitment to providing curricula that perfectly align, in some instances, and of course, need to be transformed, and have to transform to the unique needs of our beloved Caribbean.
“Through a data-driven approach, we ensure that our educational content remains a beacon of relevance, forever in sync with the dynamic demands of the modern workforce.,” Prime Minister Drew said, adding ‘this dynamic approach has paved the way for our young minds to explore, innovate, and excel in their areas of passion and strength while proudly holding recognized qualifications.
“The journey of our students is no longer confined to one path but a magnificent network of possibilities. Therefore, with the renewed CSEC and CAPE, our youth are armed with a world-class education, ready to shape the future, and open doors to a world of opportunities.”
He said the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic showed the region that its needs to be more adaptable.
“The entire world was restricted, but we recognized that our economies still had to function and CXC had to quickly adapt, and it did to some extent, embrace the changing times and incorporate digital learning and assessment tools, making education more accessible to students across the Caribbean.
“The introduction of online platforms and computer-based testing has enhanced the assessment process and prepared students for the digital age. However, we all admit that this has to be advanced as well.
”CXC has invested in teacher training and professional development, providing educators with the tools and resources to enhance their teaching practices. This focus on teacher development has had a positive impact on the quality of education in the region.
”Furthermore, CXC has been an unwavering advocate and example for inclusive education, which ensures that every child is included, regardless of their abilities, and has equal opportunity to thrive.”
“The tireless commitment to developing accommodation and support systems is truly laudable. CXC must be given a commendation for this effort. CXC’s dedication to leveling the playing field is a testament to our collective vision of a fair, diverse, and empowering educational landscape where every student can unleash their full potential.”
Prime Minister Drew said that this year’s Ministerial Summit is a testament to the dedication of the CXC as its partners continue to ensure that they work and collaborate to transform the educational system.
“It is an opportunity for us to come together, share insights, and chart a course toward a future where our education system not only empowers individuals but also contributes to the broader development of our region,” he added.
The ministerial summit featured addresses and roundtable discussions with education policymakers and other high-level stakeholders from across the region. It also explored the curriculum policies in various territories, with emphasis on new topical areas for learning, approaches to teaching, and strategies for assessment.