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Collaborating for Results in OECS Countries:

April 15, 2014


World Bank support to Member States of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) enhanced the capacity of education planners, statisticians and administrators to collect, analyze and use education data to inform policy. By providing hands-on training to education statisticians, planners, and administrators, a results-based regional education strategy was completed and endorsed by nine Member States, the first OECS regional education statistical digest was published, and the timeliness of country level education statistics was improved.

Challenge

Before this Project was undertaken in 2012, OECS Member states lacked timely and reliable data to make policy decisions in the education sector. Education management information systems were of doubtful quality, and there was limited use of data to inform policy decisions. While there was a desire and need to move towards evidence-based policy making and to focus on results in the education sector, these efforts were hindered by lack of reliable and timely data.

 Solution

The Institutional Development Fund (IDF) supported process engaged teams from the ministries of education in nine OECS countries and the Education Development Unit (EDMU) of the OECS Secretariat through a full cycle of collaborative evidence-based policy making activities. The process involved identifying capacity gaps, hands-on training to address these gaps, and use of the results to feed back into the policy making process.  At the end of this process, the officials developed demonstrated capacity to collect, analyze and interpret data pertaining to the education sector in their countries.  IDF funds were used to provide technical assistance for training and guidance at different stages of this process.

Results

The World Bank team supported hands-on training for education statisticians, planners and administrators that yielded the following outcomes:

  • Nine OECS Member States developed and endorsed a results-based regional education strategy for the period 2012-2021, called “Every Learner Succeeds,” with an implementation plan.  This strategy provides a framework for a regional approach to achieving quality education for all in the OECS.
  • The first regional education statistical digest for nine OECS countries was published in 2013, and this constitutes the baseline for monitoring implementation of the regional education strategy for the OECS.
  • Timeliness of education statistics was improved by over one year for some countries. Some member states that had not produced education statistics in over 10 years produced one for the first time and just a few months after the end of the 2012 and 2013 school years.
  • Collaboration among the Ministries of Education in OECS countries, regional institutions (for example, the OECS Secretariat and Caribbean Examinations Council) and development partners working on education in the OECS was strengthened around the new regional strategy.
  • A Community of practice for education planners and statisticians in the OECS was established through which practitioners continue to share experiences and address challenges

Bank Group Contribution

The Bank Group provided US$345,000 through an Institutional Development Fund (IDF) Grant.

Partners

The Project was a partnership with the OECS Secretariat, Ministries of Education from nine OECS Member States. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) also contributed US$500,000 and UNICEF provided additional financial support towards workshops.  

Moving Forward

Based on the outputs of this project, the following next steps are planned:

  • The Regional education strategy is now the basis for education development in nine OECS Countries, and development partners have agreed to provide support to education in the OECS within this framework.  It is expected that the effective collaboration that was demonstrated during the development of the strategy will continue through implementation of the strategy. 
  • Open Education Management Information System (EMIS) has been a success in the pilot countries and will now be rolled out to the remaining countries. 
  • The regional education statistical digest will be produced on an annual basis using data from Member Countries and will also be used for reporting on implementation of the Regional education Strategy.

Beneficiaries

Len Ishmael, Director General, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States commented “The OECS Education Sector Strategy provides the framework of a regional approach to achieve better quality education in the Region…Strong support and participation at policy, technical and professional levels have contributed to a strategy which truly reflects the education priorities of Member States.”