Barbados is set to host another major conference – this time in the field of education, when the 3rd International Conference on Higher Education comes off at the Hilton Barbados, from October 21-24.

This was announced during at press conference by Director of the Higher Education Development Unit, Dr. Patrick Rowe, at the Unit’s Government Hill Headquarters today.

He explained that the upcoming three-day biennial symposium, which is being staged under the theme: The Economy of Collective Strengths: Learning Through Innovation in Multidisciplinary Education, was designed to provide professional development opportunities for post secondary members of staff of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.

One of the highlights of the event will be the opening ceremony which is slated for Sunday, October 21, at the Hilton Barbados, Needhams Point, St. Michael.???? UNESCO’s Regional Director for the Caribbean, Dr. Kwame Baofo, will deliver the feature address at 5:00 p.m., while Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, will give the welcome remarks.

It is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Coppin State University will be signed during the ceremony.

Dr. Rowe stated that the main focus of the conference this year would be on "technical and vocational education and innovation across disciplines" and using universities and colleges "to drive innovation in developing countries". Participants will include students, teachers, professors, administrators and technical education staff from throughout the region.

Describing what he perceived as the benefits of the conference, he said: "I think largely it is about exposing staff to current research and practices in higher education – that is the main objective. We have persons who are leading researchers in their fields and the rationale … is that it is very expensive to send all of our staff to conferences, whether it is Europe or North America, but if we can bring persons here then we can expose a much larger cadre of our staff to a high level of academic research."

"About six or seven years ago Coppin State [University] approached the Ministry [of Education] about developing a relationship with that institution.?? Subsequently, students from secondary schools here have received full honours scholarships. They [Coppin State University] have worked with the Barbados Community College, they have provided the Ministry with technical training, especially as it relates to ICT – that’s one of the strengths of the institution in terms of utilising within the campus learning environment.

And, over the years they have been very keen in supporting us with this biennial conference and a number of their professors and instructors will be here participating," he disclosed.

Furthermore, he added that officials from the Ministry of Education were hoping to meet with UNESCO officials to discuss innovation planning and technology issues during the conference to "assist with national policy development when it comes to science technology and innovation".

Key facilitators of the meeting are: the Higher Education Development Unit of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, the Barbados Community College, Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council, Coppin State University of Baltimore, and the Barbados Vocational Training Board.

He noted that presenters would be drawn from over 15 countries including Barbados and the Caribbean, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Finland and the Netherlands. In addition, he said that 300 educators from local educational institutions, including the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill and its Open Campus would be in attendance.


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