The workshop was facilitated by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development in collaboration with the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU); a branch of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat and the World Bank.
Marcellus Albertin, of the EDMU, outlined the importance of data collection in education for the country on a whole.
“If we don’t educate our people we die. Not literally, but we are dead, socially, economically and every other type of ‘ally’ you can think about. Education, and educating our people, is an absolute imperative. It is something that should be on every country’s priority list,” Mr. Albertin said.
He went on to note that countries such as Germany, France, China and the USA pay great attention to the statistical data regarding their nation’s education levels. “When they are told that they are tops in Math or in sciences they celebrate that, and when the US often sees itself at number 25 or 26 it feels terrible and it pumps resources, it does research as to why it is doing so badly because doing badly has a consequence for the growth and development of the country,” Mr. Albertin said.
Mr. Junior Alexis, senior statistician in the Ministry of Education, spoke to the principals and teachers in attendance about the significance of completing and submitting the school questionnaires.
“I see principals here and I see teachers who are assigned to do the questionnaires. I want you to have this clear in your mind, you are the primary. You are the ones who are in the trenches of collecting data; you are the first responders; you are there, and because of this we need to talk to you face to face so you’ll understand the importance of collecting data,” Mr. Alexis said.
“We don’t want you to collect the data just because the Ministry wants the data. No. You have to understand that you collect the data first and foremost because you need it in your basic lesson plan, in your basic classrooms. You definitely need to know the students, you need to know who comes from where, who may have difficulties, the parents, where they come from, what communities…” Mr. Alexis stressed the importance of this kind of data for principals if they are to get the best work from the students.
Chief Education Officer for the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Andrea Phillip, reiterated the importance of data collection and stressed the need for timely data reporting.
“I consider this workshop important, not important simply because it is a Ministry thing, but because data is so critical to what we do,”Mrs. Phillip said.
“This is about getting information in a timely way. Reliable information being passed on in a timely way and being responded to in a timely way, whether it is something as simple as a job letter or whether it is something more complex such as the tracking of student data and student performance.”
All District Officers, managers, supervisors, principals and teachers in charge of the nation’s schools, public and private, were asked to attend this workshop.
The seminars concluded on Friday, 4 October 2013, in Carriacou.