Nevis was represented at the 6th Education International (EI) – North America/Caribbean Conference at the Cascadia Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad from Tuesday 23rd – Friday 26th February, 2010. A three-member delegation of the Nevis Teachers’ Union – Mrs Ilena Mills 1st Vice President; Mrs Josette Myers, Second Vice President/Public Relations Officer and Ms Donna Browne, Secretary attended the event. Delegates agreed that investing in education is an investment in our future. They further agreed that collaboration and creating partnerships must be the new paradigm. This conference is held with member teacher unions every three years. It began in Jamaica in 1995 and Nevis hosted this prestigious event in 2003. Other hosts have been St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago. The members of the North America and the Caribbean are the National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), Centrale des Syndicats du Quebec (CSQ) and Confederation Nationale des Educteurs d’Haiti (CNEH) and the Caribbean islands including Bahamas and Belize. The theme of the conference was Educators Working Together for Quality Education in a Time of Economic Challenge. Events included a public relations workshop on Tuesday 23rd February which was attended By Mrs Josette Myers. The NEA facilitated this and topics discussed were Messaging, Media Relations, Interactive Media and Other Public Relations Tactics. On Wednesday 24th February there was a session on development co-operation in the morning and a women’s forum in the afternoon which the three delegates attended. The topic discussed was Boys’ Under-achievement in the Caribbean. Thursday 25th and Friday 26th saw the business sessions. EI’s Secretary General Fred van Leuwen delivered an address at this session’s opening. He spoke about delivering humanitarian aid and support to CNEH in making its contribution to the rebuilding of the Haitian education sector. In the most affected areas 90 per cent of the schools have been seriously damaged or destroyed. He said, “It is no secret that quality and accessibility of education in Haiti have been problematic. Education has been more a patchwork of scattered private initiatives.” The formal opening took place at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. Topics discussed were Rethinking Partnerships, Investing in Teachers and Education and Creating a Safe Teaching/Learning Environment for Quality Education. The session concluded with EI World Congress’ next steps, resolutions and recommendations. A highlight of the conference was a report from our colleagues in Haiti who related their experiences during the recent disaster. EI was able to contact them in a few days after the earthquake and send financial help. The NTU solicited contributions from most schools and was able to contribute $1000.00 US toward this venture. It was resolved By the conference that everything would be done to ensure that dominant public schooling in Haiti returns in the long term; and try to regroup its members and rebuild the private schools that were destroyed. The two-day conference, which was hosted By the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) ended on Friday, February 26 and was a resounding success in all areas.
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