(SKN National Commission for UNESCO): As part of spearheading technical assistance initiatives being pursued with UNESCO, the Ministry of Education was informed this week that a grant of US$90,000 will be deployed to St. Kitts and Nevis to enable the Ministry to develop an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) framework for the Federation’s education sector. The funding is to be provided under the Japan-fund-in-trust for allocation to St. Kitts and Nevis to complete this project.
Only two Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Cape Verde Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis, have been selected for UNESCO technical assistance in the context of ESD for 2030. Both were identified as potential champions in the quest to adopt education for sustainable development.
Based on the quality of St. Kitts and Nevis’ ESD initiative plan submitted last year by Dr. Tricia Esdaille, Senior Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Education, the feasibility of delivery within the 2023-2024 timeframe, and the expected impact of the output in the Federation, UNESCO, with the aid of the Japan-fund-in-trust, decided to favourably consider further technical assistance to Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to implement the ESD project.
The ESD project, as a dedicated country initiative, will include policy development and related training of policymakers; pilot school-level projects; training of educators; support for youth-driven project-based learning; and local community-level actions involving diverse stakeholders. The modalities of support will be determined with the corresponding UNESCO field office in Jamaica that will implement the national level activities with the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Education.
St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, H.E. David P. Doyle, today met up with the Ambassador of Japan to UNESCO His Excellency Atsuyuki Oike, and his Deputy Permanent Delegate and Minister, Ms Hirayama Naoko, to express the appreciation of Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education et al.
Ambassador Doyle asserted, “The Japan-fund-in-trust is very welcome and will significantly scale up St. Kitts and Nevis’ institutional capacity in developing an ESD plan applicable across all sectors of the Federation’s education and training framework.”
Ambassador Oike remarked, “The Government of Japan is proud to be associated with supporting this ESD initiative in St. Kitts and Nevis, which marks a tangible example of my government’s ESD technical assistance programme targeting LDCs and SIDS”.
Commenting on this development, Minister Hanley stated, “We are most appreciative of this timely and generous funding provided by the Government of Japan to develop a focused ESD policy framework, and importantly, one that can be adapted to the cultural, environmental and social characteristics of a small island developing state like St. Kitts and Nevis”.
The funds for the ESD project bring UNESCO fund-granted activities to the Federation to strengthen the national education policy framework to a total of US$136,000 for the current period. Two UNESCO-driven education projects are running concurrently across the Federation under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education and the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO for the 2022-2023 cycles. These relate to developing frameworks for teachers’ professional standards and revising national accreditation policy and reforming the accreditation board.
As the key focal contact official on the ESD project going forward, Dr. Tricia Esdaille, greeted the news with joy, remarking “We are thankful for the ongoing support and technical assistance of UNESCO in bolstering our national efforts to advance ESD for 2030. With the additional aid of Japan-fund-in-trust, we are further heartened and empowered to carry out a programme of work that will result in the development of a national ESD policy framework and action plan”.
She went on to state: “We are working to map our national ESD activities and their contribution to the SDGs, particularly SDG 4.7 which focuses on education for sustainable development and global citizenship. We recognise the need to articulate clear ESD targets and outputs for St. Kitts and Nevis which speak to education as a national driving force for sustainability”.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the funding to be provided under the Japan-fund-in-trust over the next two years as it will not only allow us to develop national policy, it will also provide the necessary framework around which we can enact a National Working Group for ESD. It is our hope that the National ESD working group will advance curricula, informal learning opportunities and community-level action that will integrate education for sustainable development into diverse spears of life and foster multisectoral ESD action through partnership, innovation and the sharing of information”.