Media Center

Press Release


  January 29, 2008

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the University of the West Indies Open Campus (UWIOC)University of the West Indies Open Campus (UWIOC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help educators in the English-speaking Caribbean to promote democratic values and practices in their classrooms, schools and communities.

Under the agreement—signed concurrently at the OAS in Washington DC and at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica—a sustainable distance education course will be developed to implement the program. Course content will be informed by the principles embodied in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which Caribbean Member States are signatories.

Initial seed funding for this three-year pilot project has been provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and participating member states are expected to identify supplemental funding and provide modest counterpart resources.

In July 2007, a number of Caribbean stakeholders, including representatives from Ministries of Education, educational institutions and affiliated organizations, civil society and international organizations, met in Barbados to provide feedback on the project and to discuss the proposed content of the distance course and the key considerations that should inform its development.

Signature of the OAS-UWIOC Memorandum of Understanding follows a January 23-25 meeting at the UWI Cave Hill campus in Barbados between OAS officials and a UWI Open Campus team of experts charged with developing the course. That meeting was considered curriculum goals and objectives, course content, and instructional strategies.

UWIOC Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald hailed the initiative as “a very valuable project for the region and we are pleased to partner with the OAS to enhance teacher skills and to help ensure that our future generations of Caribbean citizens continue to embrace democratic values and practices.”

Speaking for the OAS, Executive Secretary for Integral Development Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez stated, “Member States from the region have requested more assistance for capacity building in education and to support educators’ efforts to nurture the values and skills that young people need to be active citizens in their communities, so we are very pleased to partner with a well-respected institution such as UWI to respond to this demand.”

Reference: E-017/08