It is not adventurous to say that 1998 was a year in which there was a clear awareness in our region that education is the decisive factor for promoting the political, social, cultural, and economical development of our people. Various Inter-American events made decisive statements on this subject, including: the Third Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Second Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Americas, in Santiago, Chile; the twenty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly of the OAS, held in Caracas, Venezuela; and the First Meeting of Ministers of Education within the framework of CIDI, held in Brasilia, Brazil, when a new Inter-American program of education was created within CIDI’s Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development, 1997-2001.

At all of these encounters, there was a clear demonstration of the decisive political willingness of the Hemisphere to make education an indispensable component and actor in the process of transformation that is needed to face the challenges of the new millennium. They also gave rise to a series of initiatives which, as highlighted in the above agreements, propose to develop a comprehensive and diverse plan of action which recognizes that education with equity and effectiveness is needed to provide a promising present and future for all of the inhabitants of our region.

To the above efforts we add the technical contributions made by Professor Errol Miller, whose vast professional experience is well known in the international academic community. This book presents an overview of the educational reforms that have occurred in several of the English-speaking Caribbean countries over the past few years. While it has placed particular emphasis on the reforms of the 1990s, discussion also takes place on those undertaken during the post-independence period.

This contribution by Professor Miller and his collaborators not only establishes the foundation for a substantive reflection of past educational reform endeavors, but serves as a benchmark for facing the educational challenges of the twenty-first century.

Christopher R. Thomas
Assistant Secretary General