News Releases

UWI Open Campus & OAS to foster democratic values in Caribbean classrooms

For Release Upon Receipt - November 20, 2009

St. Augustine

More than a hundred teachers from Trinidad and Tobago and several countries across the region have become the newest participants in an online course aimed at preparing educators to promote democratic values and practices in their classrooms, schools and communities. The 165 teachers come from countries including Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica and Belize.

The course was developed based on a memorandum of understanding signed concurrently at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. and at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica. The course is one part of an ongoing project titled “Education for Democratic Citizenship in the Caribbean” (EDCC), which aims to develop capacity in the OAS member states of the English-speaking Caribbean.  

The EDCC course comprises two segments: the online segment and a follow-on practicum. In May 2009, 23 teacher-participants from several countries served by The University of the West Indies (UWI) through its Open Campus, successfully completed the online segment of the project, which is delivered via the Open Campus Learning Exchange (Moodle) environment.  

In the follow-on practicum, teacher-participants work with mentors to test the ideas, pedagogical methods and strategies gained from the online segment, and implement them in their classrooms and wider communities. Practicum participants share information and engage in discussions via a social networking site.

A past participant in the project described the course as an essential learning experience, as it “opened up the window of my understanding as it relates to democracy.” Another participant stated that, “This course should be extended to all teachers of students within the Caribbean basin. It should be at least a prerequisite for induction into the teaching profession.” 

The project is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and by contributions from The UWI Open Campus and participating member-states. The course content is informed by the principles embodied in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which Caribbean member states are signatories. The OAS, The UWI Open Campus and OAS member-states are working together to promote the sustainability of these efforts.

UWI Open Campus Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald hailed the initiative as “a very valuable project for the region,” and said, “we are pleased to partner with the OAS to enhance teacher skills and to help ensure that our future generations of Caribbean citizens continue to embrace democratic values and practices.” 

To find out more, please contact Ms. Suzette Wolfe, Marketing & Communications, Open Campus, at 876-927-1201 or or visit the Open Campus website at


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.