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UWI Open Campus launches Transcultura Programme with UNESCO

Dr Sulema Rodríguez-Roche, Programme Officer-Transcultura, UNESCO

The UWI, Open Campus Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Wednesday, November 3, 2021—The University of the West Indies Open Campus on Monday, November 1, 2021 launched phase one of the Transcultura Programme for persons from Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. 

The programme titled “Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity,” is being implemented in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean and funded by the European Union.

Dr Francis Severin, Principal (Interim) UWI Open Campus 

“The partnership will further deepen regional integration in the Caribbean and is in sync with The UWI’s strategic goals of ACCESS, AGILITY and ALIGNMENT,” stated Dr Francis Severin, Principal (Interim) of the Open Campus while delivering remarks at the virtual launch on Monday morning.  “It is another demonstration of The UWI as a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of our people,” Dr Severin said.

The Open Campus Principal explained that the goal of Access is met through the expansion of higher education and training opportunities, which the Transcultura Programme will provide for 480 participants. This includes 330 participants from the cultural and creative industries who will pursue a range of Continuing and Professional Education Courses, and 150 Cuban professors who will participate in blended teacher training for remote delivery. 

Delivering remarks on behalf of UNESCO, Dr Sulema Rodríguez-Roche, Programme Officer-Transcultura said the programme with the Open Campus “seeks to strengthen the Cultural and Creatives Industries economic impact in the Caribbean, by developing capacity-building courses and creating opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs in the region.”

Dr Rodríguez-Roche added that the course is intended to guide presenters and trainers transitioning from face-to-face teaching to online course facilitation. The 150 professors from Cuba and Dominican Republic will be beneficiaries of the training.

Noting the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the UNESCO official extolled the virtues of online and blended learning. “The education system needs to adopt digital pedagogy strategies like online learning and blended learning to ensure that the education process never stops,” she stated. Dr Rodríguez-Roche noted that while face-to-face learning is important to incorporate overall academic discipline, online learning helps students to customize their education. She added,   “blended teaching improves the quality of education and information assimilation while making students more independent, efficient and productive while using online learning environments.” 

Ms Jody Grizzle, Project Coordinator, Business Development Unit gave an overview of the programme during Monday’s launch. Ms Grizzle said the programme will deliver 12 Continuing and Professional Education Courses between November 2021 to May 2022. According to Ms Grizzle, the courses will be delivered using the UWI’s Learning Exchange – the Moodle Platform. Course materials will be available in English, Spanish and French, and real time interpretation for live sessions will be provided by UNESCO.

The programme will include participants from the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominican Republic, and Cuba.

Funding for The Transcultura Programme to the tune of USD$285,000 is provided by the Delegation of the European Union. Phase two of the programme will include countries from the English, Spanish and French speaking Caribbean. 


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