Some 50 persons from across the public sector, non-governmental organisations and civil societies will, next month, participate in a national consultation to assess the current status of literacy and adult education in Barbados.

The event will be convened on Friday, July 6, at the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Elsie Payne Complex, St. Michael.

The key aims of it will be to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the system and arrive at strategies to strengthen both components at the country level.??

The consultation will also seek to familiarise stakeholders about the Belem Framework for Action (BFA) and its relevance to Barbados. The BFA is an action-oriented policy which prioritises key areas and concerns in adult education. It contains commitments from Member States and recommendations to design effective and integrated policies to widen participation and improve quality and equity in adult education.

Following the Belem Conference in 2009, a Regional CONFINTEA Follow-up meeting was convened in Mexico in May 2011.?? At that meeting, a regional matrix for the implementation and monitoring of the Belem Framework for action in Latin America and the Caribbean was discussed and agreed upon by those countries which subscribed to the Framework in 2009.??

The objectives of the July meeting are to promote articulation between sectors and institutions involved in literacy and youth and adult education; develop alliances with different parliamentary forums that support literacy and adult education; define a mechanism to increase financing for youth and adult education; map the literacy and adult education needs of Barbados; develop specific and concrete action plans for literacy and adult education, integrated with other development initiatives; and

develop and improve recognition, validation and accreditation mechanisms for all adult education programmes.

It is also expected that at the end of the session a group of specialists would be created to strengthen lifelong learning policy and programme development in Barbados and guidelines would have also been created to improve the quality of curricula and learning materials used to support literacy and adult education.

In addition to the meeting orienting stakeholders about the BFA, it will provide a forum for discussion on how this policy may be moved from rhetoric to action in Barbados. It is hoped that coming out of this consultation, a national committee would be set up to monitor the implementation of the BFA in Barbados.??

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, will deliver the feature address at the consultation, at 9:00 a.m., while Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, will deliver remarks. Deputy Principal of Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Dr Patricia Saul will review the BFA Matrix.

The one-day consultation runs until 4:00 p.m. and towards the end of it there will be the election of officers to serve on the BFA Committee.

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