The National Transformation Initiative (NTI) and Coursera is expanding their course offerings to engage more Barbadians.
Prime Minister of Barbados, The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley Q.C. M.P., made the announcement alongside Matt Klein, Director of Coursera’s International Public Sector practice; The Hon. Toni Moore, General Secretary, BWU; and Dr. Allyson Leacock, Director of the NTI during the NTI-Coursera Phase 2 Media Launch held on May 12 at The Valley Resource Centre, St. George.
“I want to reinforce from my office the very clear signal that for Barbadians to become global citizens, the only route is through training and education… We are in the business of giving Bajans the opportunity to be the best they can be or, in the language of NTI, to be STARR Bajans, so that you can command jobs not just locally, not just regionally, but internationally,” PM Mottley emphasised.
“With respect to Coursera, the three-year agreement, and I hope this will only be a platform for the next three-year agreement, is to bring learning and opportunities to you wherever you are,” the prime minister added.
She encouraged Barbadians to seize these learning opportunities as she shared that she, too, was a learner on the NTI Coursera platform. To date, despite her busy schedule, she completed the NTI’s flagship Citizenship course and was eager to enrol in Spanish courses to improve her interactions with international counterparts.
To mark the NTI Coursera first anniversary and second year of partnership, a Coursera delegation visited Barbados for the first time this past week, and met with various heads of ministries in the days ahead of the launch. According to delegation head, Matt Klein, the Coursera team was met with “excitement about the impact of the NTI programme because these are exactly the skills needed in every company, agency and citizen.”
“As part of my work, I speak with governments around the world, and I can say, unequivocally, Barbados has taken a leading role on the global stage in investing in its human capital for the future, and it’s an honour to be a part of this programme,” he affirmed.
In her remarks, General-Secretary Moore, who is also Member of Parliament for the St. George North constituency, cited “fast learning, adaptability and capacity building” among the central elements of the NTI Coursera training. “Coursera over the last year has assisted many of our people… to access new skill sets, technologies and position themselves to be able to perform in their daily roles,” she acknowledged.
The Phase 2 Launch is the culmination of a year of growth and development between the NTI and Coursera, the world’s leading online learning platform. The partnership, officially launched on May 1, 2021, has, to date, engaged over 24 000 Barbadians in online training.
Phase 2 comprises more than 500 new courses, whether expanding existing learning programmes or forming new ones. The development is also anticipated to advance the NTI’s mandate of equipping every Barbadian with the knowledge and skills to enable their confidently functioning in a globalised, digital and ever-changing world.
NTI Director Dr. Leacock noted: “Our expansion to Phase 2 of the NTI Coursera training courses will appeal to an even wider audience as we further align with the national agenda in areas such as manufacturing, retail, media, legal, agriculture/agribusiness, a construction gateway (to complement government’s initiative), health & wellness, sports and the silver sector.”
An NTI roadshow immediately followed the launch. Part of the NTI’s community outreach, the roadshows aim to empower individuals in all constituencies to learn and improve their lives regardless of their backgrounds, learning styles or abilities. The roadshows will continue in upcoming months.
Dr. Leacock felt encouraged after the week of activities: “As the Coursera and NTI teams met with ministers, stakeholders and communities this past week, the passion for eLearning is further ignited. NTI recommits to reaching out to more Barbadians in all 30 constituencies across Barbados and providing greater opportunities to retool and upskill STARR Bajans as Barbados achieves its target state of world class nation by 2030.”