CARICOM deploys 19 teachers to new locations under CSME programme

Future plans for other skilled workers to go on exchange throughout the region

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Just shy of 20 Caribbean teachers have been dispatched to different CARICOM nations this month as part of a new programme aimed to further the goals of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME initiative has been long-awaited and highly-anticipated for decades. Once successfully launched, it would allow for the free movement of skilled workers between participating CARICOM Member States.

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CARICOM's plan to allow free movement of skilled workers could revolutionize the Caribbean labour market.

It would potentially revolutionize Caribbean labour markets, potentially putting an end to labour shortages and skills gaps.

Likewise, it could potentially address the related, longstanding issues of brain drain and tension over expatriate workers in high positions.

While CSME has yet to be fully put into practice, CARICOM has this month launched what is being called its “Skilled Workers Programme.”

The programme has the twofold intention of exposing teachers in the region to further skills training in completely new environments, and also demonstrating the benefit of free movement of skilled workers that full enactment of CSME could bring.

While the temporary deployment of the first cohort of teachers is set to end this week, the initiative — and the results thereof — could be crucial for garnering CSME buy-in from Caribbean governing bodies that were previously on the fence or fully opposing the programme.

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    Opportunities for skilled workers

    A statement from CARICOM explaining the programme explained, “Nineteen CARICOM teachers are being placed on two-week attachments to secondary schools in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago during the period March 6 to 17, 2023.”

    The deployed teachers will benefit from skills training and exposure to different cultures.

    Additionally, it noted, “The Skilled Workers Programme, which is supported by the European Union, is intended to provide opportunities for the learning of best practices in the administration of the regimes of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

    “It is hoped there will be the development of practical skills through the work-related attachments to assist Member States to implement the CSME and decisions of the Organs and Bodies of the Community.

    “The programme is also intended to create effective advocates for CARICOM integration through the exposure given to participants.

    “Thus, the targeted groups have been selected for the critical role they can play in implementing and sustaining training and advocacy at the national level in respect of the CSME, in particular, the free movement of CARICOM skilled nationals.”

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