Barbados has for years been transforming its education system and this will continue.

This assuarance came today from Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands.

He was addressing the opening of the three-day Biennial Conference of the Schools of Education of the University of the West Indies, at Accra Beach Hotel.

Describing the event as timely, Senator Husbands said its theme: Transforming Education: New Frameworks and Alliances was appropriate, as the island was also in the process of doing the same.

“Barbados as a small open developing country has always had a proud record in the area of education. This record of achievement continues to this day. We were pleased to report to UNESCO this year that we have met or exceeded all of the six goals coming out of that well known 1990 Education For All Conference in South Korea,??? Senator Husbands said.

Noting that we could not just survive on the past ???no matter how glorious we may consider that path to have been???, the former teacher acknowledged that changes in education were real.

He said: ???So, despite the achievements of the Barbadian educational system, it was felt that if we were to meet the challenges of our era and move towards a modern, robust and relevant education system, then substantial transformation was necessary. In order to fulfil this mammoth undertaking, it was necessary to have a new strategic approach.???

Mr. Husbands told local, regional and international delegates this approach included the development of a vision that required schools and educational institutions to value innovation and to be agile in their responses to the various stakeholders; the promotion of modern systems of monitoring and evaluation and the encouragement of curriculum content and assessment for the real world.

Additionally, it emphasised the building of teacher capacity, leadership and organisational strength and promotion of partnerships for employability.??He also pointed out that as a result of this new strategic review, the Human Resource Development Strategy, a framework to guide the transformation of the educational system was born.

???It will also enhance the country???s social and economic standing and revolutionise how we view educational development and success,??? the Parliamentary Secretary stated.

Senator Husbands also mentioned the Skills For The Future Programme, an initiative by his Ministry that is being undertaken in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank. He told the conference delegates that its four components aimed to improve learning outcomes and ensure educational qualities.

He continued: ???The Skills For The Future Programme not only seeks to improve the quality of secondary and post-secondary education, but it also seeks to bring parity to TVET (Technical Vocational and Educational Training) and CBET (Competency-Based Education and Training) education and the academic side of education.???

He, however, noted that while Barbados had remained consistent in providing education for all, there was still a lot of work to be done in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. He lamented that too many students left school with little or no certification and often fell short of meeting the new demands of society.

The former educator and union leader stressed that greater opportunities for TVET and CBET education could lead to improved prospects for the products of the educational system. ???A refocus on TVET and competency???based education can result in our students leaving secondary institutions with meaningful certification that is recognised locally, regionally and internationally,??? Senator Husbands maintained.

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