Over the last two and a half years, teachers, youth leaders, and education stakeholders across Saint Lucia have worked together to equip educators and learners with digital skills to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the USAID-funded ConnectED Activity led by World Education.
The activity established a Digital Skills Framework specifically contextualized for Saint Lucia and informed by youth and private-sector needs to support the integration of in-demand digital skills and pedagogical practices. ConnectED then trained more than 175 teachers in digital skills integration and creation and curation of customized Open Education Resources.
The team also piloted a youth digital skills internship program that placed 58 students in internships and business across Saint Lucia. To advocate for a better education and employment future, youth led research and evaluation processes.
ConnectED has successfully set in motion the mechanisms for connecting learning by building the resilience of Saint Lucia’s youth, equipping them with skills to navigate complex digital ecosystems, and using a positive youth development approach that has integrated digital skills and critical thinking into the development of learning resources and instruction strategies,” Royston Emmanuel, ConnectEd Chief of Party said. “This will foster a new era of teaching and learning in Saint Lucia.”
During a celebratory event held in Castries in September 2023, Emmanuel addressed the need to respond to the “abstractness of education,” or the tendency for education systems to emphasize abstract concepts over the development of practical real world skills. He asked the audience to consider four approaches embodied by ConnectEd:
- Connecting curricula to the local culture, history, and practical needs of the population
- Prioritizing critical thinking and problem solving skills over rote learning, memorization, and standardized teaching
- Paying attention to the socio-economic, political, and cultural issues facing the population
- Establishing linkages between education and the workplace
ConnectEd equipped the education sector with the necessary tools to help youth develop their digital skills and critical thinking, which are both essential in today’s job market and the job market of tomorrow,” said Mr. Mervyn Faroe, USAID/Eastern and Southern Caribbean Regional Representative.
The event, which was attended by graduating teachers of the activity’s e-learning academy course, youth participants and researchers, and private-sector partners of the activity’s Digital Skills Youth Internship Program, among others concluded with a graduation ceremony. Students, teachers, and partners were then presented with certificates of appreciation or completion for their role. Principals of participating secondary schools and representatives from the Ministry of Education and TaiwanICDF also attended.
The Saint Lucia ConnectEd Activity is funded by USAID and implemented by World Education in partnership with Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training.