Resilience in education: Responses in times of pandemics and natural disasters - St. Vincent and the Grenadines

12 November 2021
Credit: KIX LAC

What do we do, how do we respond, and how are we able to recover and move forward?

For the sixth edition of the KIX Conversations, Dr. Idelia Ferdinand was invited to share the work being carried out around education responses to pandemic and natural disasters in the Caribbean region. Dr. Ferdinand is a Senior Education, Research and School Safety Officer of the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation, Church Affairs and Information of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and representative for that country in the KIX LAC hub. The interview was conducted by KIX LAC hub researcher, Ivana Zacarias.

Resilience in the education system means the capacity of the system to include schools, public institutions, other educational institutions, and the community to be able to prepare a response and recovery from the impact of hazards and reduce the possibility of these turning into disasters. This ensures the safety of the school environment, providing equitable educational opportunities, even in the face of disasters, and achieving educational goals. The overall goal being to continue teaching and learning despite the impacts of hazards in a safe learning environment.

The Eastern Caribbean is one of the regions of the world particularly prone to hazards, including hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, and health emergencies, among other threats such outbreaks of dengue fever, COVID-19, the eruption of La Soufriere volcano and Hurricane Elsa. The Ministry of Education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines planned an education response strategy around three pillars, in terms of the school safety program: safe school facilities, disaster risk management and reduction, and education for resilience.

Some of the strategies implemented for the return to school after COVID-19 were the evaluation of building facilities to analyze that the environments were safe; generation of hand washing stations, isolation and sanitization areas; training and awareness work with school staff in terms of protocols; ensuring the number of electronic devices and internet access even in rural schools; and feeding and psychosocial support programs for students, teachers and parents.

To watch the recording of the sixth edition of KIX Conversations by the KIX LAC hub, click here: