High school students in first merged, on-line class on regional integration, CSME

Students of the Ladyville Technical High School in Belize participating in Monday’s activity

Approximately fifty high school students from Belize and Guyana participated in a merged on-line classroom on Monday, that Ms. Eletha Stewart-Johnson of Queen’s College in Guyana taught.

This was the first leg of a pilot activity on teaching regional integration and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in CARICOM classrooms and Ms. Stewart-Johnson taught the class of Mr. Abdiel Medina of the Ladyville Technical High School in Belize. This exercise is being facilitated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. Mr. Medina is scheduled to teach Ms. Stewart-Johnson’s class on 17 May.

The Programme Manager, Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat gave remarks today to the students, teachers and representatives from the Ministries responsible for Trade in Belize and Guyana.

Remarks by Dr. Laurette Bristol, Programme Manager, Human and Social Development

Representatives from the Ministries responsible for Education and Trade in Belize and Guyana; teachers and students from the classes at Queen’s college in Guyana and the Ladyville Technical High School and Sacred Heart College in Belize; my colleagues from the CARICOM Secretariat a good afternoon and a good morning to you all. It is now 10.30am in Belize and 12.30pm here in Guyana.

I bring greetings from the Caribbean Community Secretariat, as we start this novel activity today, whereby Ms. Eletha Stewart-Johnson from Queen’s College in Guyana will be teaching the class of Mr. Abdiel Medina of the Ladyville Technical High School in Belize for 45 minutes. This is an initiative of the CARICOM Secretariat as we continue our public education on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Today’s session focuses on an introduction to CARICOM, examining the journey of regional integration.

On the 17th of May Mr. Medina will then teach the class of Ms. Stewart-Johnson and complete the same topic with a second lesson that explores how students in the Region can benefit from the opportunities provided through the CSME. With a particular focus on CARICOM as a critical mass with opportunities for different interests under the CSME

The objective of this exercise is to further enhance the implementation of the CSME by making our youth, a key stakeholder grouping, more aware of the region and its possibilities. Students and teachers, we all know that there is need to bring the elements of CARICOM even more integrally into our classrooms. Each CARICOM student should be aware of CARICOM and its opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. The ongoing virtual teaching in most CARICOM Member States, created this opportunity to engage students and teachers in classrooms across our borders.

We have an original project which was scheduled to start last year, but it is delayed because of the pandemic. It is a series of planned high school teacher exchanges across CARICOM for two weeks at a time, traveling and participating in each other’s classrooms.  The positives from the original project which is supported by the European Union and even the virtual pilot we are starting today, will expose in a practical way, CARICOM students and teachers to the uniqueness of our cultures, language, geography, ethnicity and most importantly to our integration processes.

I say thanks to the Ministries responsible for Education and Trade in both Belize and Guyana, who were so supportive of this present endeavor. It is also a collaboration between the CSME Unit and the Human Resource Development, Work Programme in the CARICOM Secretariat, so some of my colleagues are observing this event from Barbados where the CSME Unit is based. The technology certainly brings us all together in a meaningful way. The CSME Unit has led the charge over the years with various CSME public education activities focusing on teachers and youth and we appreciate how necessary it is to continue in that vein.

We at the CARICOM Secretariat are excited about this activity and know that Ms. Stewart-Johnson has prepared an engaging lesson for today. On next Monday, 17 May Mr. Medina will teach Ms. Stewart-Johnson’s class. Then we have Ms. Stefphoney Grinage of the Sacred Heart College in Belize teaching the class of Mr. Albert Inshanally of Queen’s College in Guyana this Thursday, 13th May and the reverse happens next Thursday 20th May wherein Mr. Inshanally will teach Ms. Grinage’s class. This will be the last of these virtual exchanges. Each class in Belize and Guyana will be exposed to similar lessons and information.

I wish you all well realizing we are doing a new normal with many challenges because of the pandemic and say thanks to all involved, especially the teachers and principals who were so enthusiastic to participate. That enthusiasm will benefit you the students in our CARICOM classrooms. Thanks everyone. Over now to Ms. Stewart-Johnson of Queen’s College in Guyana.  

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