From left: IDB Representative to Barbados, Viviana Alva Hart; Principal of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Dr. Colin Cumberbatch; Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney; and Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, at the launch of the Barbados 21st Century Educators Hub. (GP)

Teachers will have access to more training opportunities thanks to a partnership involving the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, the National Transformation Initiative (NTI), and the global online training platform, Coursera.

Minister of Education, Kay McConney, made the announcement during a press conference at her Ministry on Monday to launch the Barbados 21st Century Educators Hub.

She noted this development was in keeping with her Ministry’s 2022 – 2027 strategic plan, and reflected Government’s commitment to investing in the retooling and professional development of teachers, principals and administrators, and the overall enhancement of education system.

Minister McConney further indicated that the opportunities available through this partnership would complement the programmes offered by the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College and The University of the West Indies.

“This collaboration between Barbados and Coursera, through our NTI, is one designed specifically to improve the quality of education through the provision of professional development courses for educators and educational leaders in Barbados.  It is intended to not only address skill gaps but also to bring innovative content with local flavour to support our national ambition in new areas of training for educators,” she said, as she thanked the partnering entities.

There are two phases to this collaboration. The first focuses on improving the digital and socio-emotional skills of participants.  Some of the related programmes identified include: Performance Assessment in Virtual Classroom, Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom, SEL (Socioemotional Learning) for Students: A Path to Social Emotional Well Being, and content creation for the classroom.  The second phase would see the hub being expanded to address deficits within the curriculum, and this would be done in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The Minister’s views were echoed by Principal of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Dr. Colin Cumberbatch.  He welcomed the partnership, noting that it would “supplement the knowledge and pedagogical offerings of the college”, and “help guide the college in its development of its own series of self-paced projects and courses designed specially to have local educational flair and context”.

Also speaking at the launch was representative of the IDB in Barbados, Viviana Alva Hart.  Noting the IDB’s role as long time educational partner and facilitator, Mrs. Hart emphasised the importance of upskilling to meet the ever-changing demands of the modern world, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past two years have been exceptionally demanding and taxing on teachers. We hope that the 21st Century Educators’ Hub will help them better prepare for this “new” phase in education so that they can better navigate the continued uncertainties and demands for flexibility and continuous learning.  All teachers and principals are encouraged to take advantage of this exciting opportunity,” the IDB representative stated.

The training programmes available under the 21st Century Educators Hub have been developed by renowned universities and industry leaders and are being offered to Barbadian educators at no cost, as Government has already paid for the licences.

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