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CXC to focus on catering to students with autism 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • CXC has identified catering to autistic students as an overlooked area
  • In Grenada, it is believed that 1 in 65 individuals will be diagnosed with autism

The 21st Century classroom should be catering to the needs of autistic students, however, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has identified this as an area that was overlooked despite significant strides towards the inclusiveness of people with disabilities.

Newly appointed Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Wayne Wesley, said this was one of the major takeaways from the 51st Council Meeting of CXC held in Grenada.

Identified by CXC as an issue that must be addressed urgently, Dr Wesley stated that going forward, the barriers autistic learners encounter in accessing opportunities for quality education, and then removing those barriers, will be identified. “The suggestion for us is to begin to investigate how our products can give consideration to [people] who are autistic in writing our examinations. We have taken this on board to either work with the universities of the region to help determine how can we put forward assessment instruments that can be utilised by [people] who are autistic.”

According to the US Centres for Disease Control, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech, and nonverbal communication, and affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States.

Cristofre Martin, Communications Officer, Autistic Foundation of Grenada, stated there is no not sufficient data to give an accurate number of students with autism, however, it is believed that 1 in 65 individuals will be diagnosed with autism. “There is no definitive answer as far as how many children in Grenada have autism. This is primarily due to a lack of diagnostics here. Our foundation offers what is called ADOS 1 assessments which can make an initial determination if a child falls on the autism spectrum. Definitive diagnosis then can only be obtained off-island sadly. There is no reason to believe that the incidence of autism is different than anywhere else in the world,” he said.

Martin said the move by CXC to cater for students with autism is commendable. “Having CXC consider children with autism and other special needs is one step towards fulfilling the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for universally accessible to education.”

Dr Wesley admitted that today’s classroom delivery style is similar to that of the 18th Century which lacks certain core competencies like collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving to help students thrive in today’s society. “We really need to change how education is currently being delivered. We would have heard from varying sources that are classroom delivery style right now is similar to that of the 18th Century…How do we change how information is delivered and received by participants, both teachers and learners?”

He informed that CXC will no longer just be an examining body, but one that influences teaching learning and assessment, moving towards changing the environment in which people learn. Another CXC mandate is to have the CPEA widely accepted by all countries throughout the region. “Another thing we want to do within the context of what Caricom has been articulating about the Caricom Single Market and Economy is [that] our CPEA should be as popularly accepted as our CSEC programme right across the region. Because if we are serious about the free movement of people across the region, people move with families and families involve children, and children who have to go to school and you have children across varying in age group that will be moving across the region. If we get the CPEA right across the region, we would advance significantly the objective for Caricom to be a single market economy for which all [people] will be able to realise the kind of movement required as we go across the region.”

Another crucial takeaway mentioned by Dr Wesley was the need to reduce the number of students leaving school without minimum competencies. “Right across the region, it is well known that a lot of our students leaving secondary school are actually leaving without the requite minimum competencies required to function in society. So, discussion around our products specifically the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) and the value of the CCSLC. I understand that there are challenges surrounding the CCSLC, but I guess once we begin to position that particular product the right way then people will understand that it is not about the less fortunate or those who cannot really perform, but it is about rescuing the young people of this region and ensure that they are equipped with the requisite minimum competencies,” he said.

To address this matter, Dr Wesley has called for CCSLC to be looked at as a continuum rather than a one-off assessment, to de-emphasise the assessment and begin to emphasise more the process to acquire the requisite learning experiences.

“I think one of the important points that came out is that we should not necessarily look at assessment as the end-all of what we do, but it is really a process, a continuum on which we are allowing persons to experience certain exposure to skills and competencies that they require in order to function in society. And I think we need to de-emphasise the assessment and begin to emphasise more the process that are leading to our students acquiring the requisite learning experiences that we want them to experience,” he said. “We are looking at how do we reposition those products so we can rescue those persons who are leaving school not necessarily being equipped with some level of certification.”

Awards for outstanding performance in the May/June 2019 Examination were presented at the Regional Top Awards Ceremony held during the 51st Council Meeting of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) on Thursday, 5 December 2019.

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Caribbean & World

National Sustainable Development Plan to be implemented

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Final draft of National Sustainable Development Plan 2020-2035 was presented to parliament in November 2019
  • The Medium-term Action Plan 2020-2022 (MTAP) is a companion document to National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2020-2035.
  • Stakeholders tasked to discuss priority areas selected for implementation over first 3 years for social sector

A group of stakeholders met on Monday to review the Draft Medium-Term Agenda (MTAP). This is part of ongoing sectoral consultations to refine strategic actions and revise cost estimates, targets and indicators of priority areas that can be implemented over the next 3 years as government seeks to roll out the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2020-2035 in five 3-year cycles.

“The purpose of these consultations was to verify what was the aim of activities or interventions that need to take place over the next 3 years and to ensure that as the social sector we are comfortable with what is contained in the document for implementation,” said Elaine Henry-McQueen, a member of the Technical Working Group.

The Medium-term Action Plan 2020-2022 (MTAP) is a companion document to Grenada’s National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2020-2035. Stakeholders were tasked to discuss the priority areas that were selected for implementation for the first 3 years for the social sector. The first national goal for the social sector listed under the Draft Medium-Term Agenda (MTAP) is High Human and Social development: Putting people at the centre of sustainable development and transformation.

There are three national outcomes listed under this goal:

  • A healthy population
  • Educated, productive, highly skilled, trained, and conscious citizen
  • A resilient, inclusive, gender-sensitive, and peaceful society.

The second national goal is A vibrant, dynamic, competitive economy with supporting climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure. The national outcomes listed under this goal include:

  • Broad-base, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and transformation
  • Competitive business environment
  • Modern climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure.

The third national goal is Environment Sustainability and Security. The national outcomes listed under this goal include:

  • Climate resilience and hazard risk reduction
  • Energy security and efficiency.

In November 2019, the final draft of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2020-2035 was presented to parliament. The opportunity for input into the document still exists as stakeholder consultations are ongoing. Consultations such as these have unearthed several weaknesses within the social sector including:

  • Narrow production base and low value-added production and exports
  • Highly susceptible to international economic shocks
  • Large pool of low-skilled workers and limited pool of highly-skilled technical workers.
  • Highly vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards
  • Human resource planning and management, work ethics, attitudes, low productivity
  • Challenges in health and education
  • Gender disparities
  • Governance and institutional weaknesses.

There were many strengths identified:

  • Rule of law and democracy
  • Young population (80% of the population between 0-54 years)
  • The creativity of our people, rich culture and heritage
  • Political, social and macroeconomic stability
  • Regional and international partnerships
  • Natural environment and clean air.

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Stop precarious employment warns IUF

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • “Precarious” refers to work where an employee is poorly paid and has no job security
  • Regional committee meeting of The International Union of Food discussed union and worker-related issues in their respective countries

While there is no legal definition, the term “precarious” is used to refer to a type of work where an employee is poorly paid and has no job security.

The matter of precarious employment was the main focus on the 2020 regional committee meeting of The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association as they commenced high-level talks on the issue in Grenada on Monday.

IUF is a global union federation of trade unions with various membership spanning across several industries, many of which relate to food processing. Affiliates from Antigua, Bermuda, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana came together to discuss union and worker-related issues in their respective countries as it relates to an upsurge of precarious employment.

Local representation at the meeting included several trade unions – Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU), Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), the Permeant Secretary within the Ministry of Labour, and Labour Commissioner, Cyrus Griffith.

Monday’s meeting at the Radisson Grenada Beach resort was declared open by Minister of Labour and Foreign Affairs, Hon. Peter David, and was chaired by IUF General Secretary, Sister Sue Longley who is based at the IUF Headquarters in Geneva.

“Women workers for me are at the heart and are the most affected by some of the issues we will be discussing, in particular, the impact of precarious work whether it be outsourcing, contract work, [or] more and more use of temporary contracts. We know from the IUF point of view that this is something that is happening across all our sectors. Traditionally we would have seen this more in tourism and agriculture which is connected with seasonality, but now temporary has become permanent since workers get issued one temporary contract after another,” Longley said.

The 2-day meeting was held under the theme “Precarious employment, the biggest threat to labour and economic advancement of workers.”

Longley drew the media’s attention to the various ways in which precarious employment is being systematically used to undermine trade union organisation and bargaining power. She has called on governments to take this matter seriously due to the social implications that precarious employment can create.

“We need a multi-pronged approach, it’s been clear that this needs strong legislation, we need the legislation to protect workers in their workplaces and that’s something I think from this meeting that we will all be looking at is what we can do at the national level. So the IUF has been engaging directly with the companies where we have some sort of relationship to create a framework to engage on these issues,” said Longley.

The General Secretary said several transnational companies within the food processing industry have already seen the negative impact that precarious employment is having on their business. “Companies have more and more obligation to assess the human rights risks to do their due diligence to prove that they have clean supply chains and we think that precarious work outsourcing undermines human rights. So, a number of companies have recognised this and have committed to work with the IUF to move from outsourcing to more permanent work,” Longley said.

The impact of low wage precarious employment forces employed workers to either work longer hours to secure adequate income, or hold multiple jobs. On the issue of reducing the prevalence of precarious employment, the IUF will also target businesses within the tourism industry particularly the hotel sector which is a major player. “We would be looking to discuss more widely, in particular, the tourism sector where we know that precarious employment is widespread, to see if we can get commitments from hotel companies to have more directly employed workers on permanent contracts,” Longley said.

IUF Regional Secretary, Clifton Grant, said the policy recommendations stemming from this meeting will go before the IUF executive committee in the first week in May in Geneva which, if approved, will form part of the global policy in dealing with this issue of contract work. He spoke of the chain effect that the upsurge in precarious employment will have on the economy of the region. “What we are seeing is that workers don’t have any future in terms of their protection after useful life. When they are retiring, there is no benefit there and this has a chain effect in terms of the economy and future of our region.”

The IUF promises to continue to engage governments on this issue with a view of finding a solution.

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Vacancy: Director of Museum | NOW Grenada

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Director of Museum

The Grenada National Museum (GNM) at the corner of Young and Monckton Streets, St George’s, opened its doors to the public on 17 April 1976. The GNM is housed in one of Grenada’s oldest buildings, its foundations dating to the late 1700s. It may have functioned as a military facility, part of the Common Goal or prison into the late 1800s, and a commercial warehouse. Other parts of the GNM complex have housed one of the islands’ most popular hotels, the Home Hotel (founded c. 1880s), which was succeeded by the Gordon Hotel, Hotel St. George, and Steele’s Place before finally becoming the Antilles Hotel (1940-60).

The Grenada National Museum Act of 14 July 2017 established the Museum as a statutory organization with the responsibility for preserving, holding and displaying specimens, artefacts and other material that illustrate the natural or human history of Grenada, inter alia…

 

Objective of the Position

The Director of the Museum is responsible for implementing the plans as set out by the Board of Directors in keeping with the Act. The purpose of the Director of the Museum is to provide leadership and effectively manage the operations of the museum. He/she is expected to liaise with other agencies, non-profit/cultural organizations and other partners by providing timely and relevant information on behalf of the museum in an effort to implement the museum’s work plans. This entails close communication with the Board of Directors, staff and other governmental and non-governmental agencies and/or partners.

 

Qualifications and experience required:

  • Bachelors Degree in Museum Studies, English, Anthropology, History or related field
  • Minimum of 3 years experience in a Management position with a non-profit/cultural organization
  • Knowledge of the workings of a museum, its policies and procedures

 

Competencies/Skills required:

  • Interest in Grenada’s cultural heritage, its interpretation and preservation
  • Understanding of local, regional and international cultural resource laws
  • Familiarity with local, regional, and international historical and cultural funding agencies and government funding sources
  • Proven financial management skills
  • Project management skills

 

Primary Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Responsible for the efficient functioning of the museum and its daily workings, in accordance with the policies determined by the Board and in adherence with the Act
  • Responsible for the Museum collection (drawings, paintings, artefacts, objects, etc.)
  • Oversees the care, display and information about all objects displayed or stored in the Museum.
  • Writing, submitting, and securing grants from Regional and international Historical and Cultural Organizations

 

Type of Appointment: Contractual

Duration of Contract: 2 years (performance review on a yearly basis)       

Duty Station: Grenada National Museum, Young Street, St George’s, Grenada

Compensation Package: Salary will be commensurate with qualification and experience

 

Application Deadline:

Interested persons should send a letter of application and a detailed resume to the following addresses:

Chairman
Board of Directors
Grenada National Museum
Young Street
St George’s
Grenada

Applications can also be sent electronically to museumchairman@gmail.com with the subject line: “Statement of Capability – Director of Museum”

Applications should be submitted no later than 4 pm on Friday, 13 March 2020.

Full details of the specific scope of work/terms of reference are available on finance.gd

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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