Counteracting the widening of the education gap through professional teacher training in the Caribbean

In the Caribbean region, available data shows that nearly 7 million learners in 23 countries and of 91,710 teachers have been affected by school closures due to COVID-19.

To address these unprecedented disruptions to Caribbean education systems, the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean and Blackboard, through UNESCO’Global Education Coalition, are providing high quality distance and blended learning training to 10,000 teachers in 20 Caribbean SIDS.

The project is made possible through the financial support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a duration from January – November 2021.The Latin American and Caribbean project will be implemented in 20 Caribbean Small Island Developing States and in Peru. A special focus will be given to ensure that the most vulnerable girls, boys and adolescents will not be left behind in their learning, and that possible gender differences are taken into account in the distance learning opportunities.

The project ‘Education response to COVID-19: Strategies for Distance Education and Training in the Caribbean A UNESCO, Blackboard and UWI Initiative’ aims to build on lessons learned from the pilot initiative with Blackboard in 2020 to enhance capacity development of teacher educators, teachers and educational leaders in digital skills and blended learning solutions, as well as increase access to professional development opportunities for teacher educators, teachers, inspectors and educational community leaders through a coordinated regional approach to design, deliver and maintain quality online learning resources.

Three interventions will strengthen the professional capacity of teachers in the Caribbean as follows. First, a group of 40 master trainers from 20 countries will be empowered to lead the course “Blended Learning and Online Strategies”. After the pilot phase, the train-the-trainer model will be scaled up regionally to support the development of new trainings in 20 Caribbean countries. The master trainers will scale up the training to 10,000 teachers in 20 countries with teacher support where relevant.

The Caribbean component will be implemented in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.