A $3.1-million investment has been made by the Dominican government to enhance the quality of technical/vocational education in Dominica.
The money was used to purchase tools and equipment which will be distributed in various schools around the island, according Chief Education Officer, Steve Hyacinth.
The initiative is part of the on-going Dominica Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) which began in July, 2010.
Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean, said that the project was an important one which is geared at improving access to quality education at both primary and secondary levels.
“This project is consistent with the government’s policy to reduce poverty and vulnerability while providing support for human development especially for the poor, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
According to him the project focuses on two main areas which include the upgrading of primary and secondary schools and improved teacher quality through training and scholarships funded by DEEP.
The education minister noted that 42 teachers have received tertiary level training through that project in various areas including mathematics, visual and performing arts, agriculture, special education, industrial arts and cosmetology.
“Six educators have been trained in the fields of education, clinical psychology, special education and speech therapy. These trained individuals will be absorbed into the system to provide much needed intervention as we seek to reverse the trend of ill-discipline at our schools,” Saint Jean pointed out.
Meanwhile Hyacinth has sought to dispel allegations that technical/vocational subjects are not taught in the island’s secondary schools.
“I wish that as individuals we do so in an informed position. We should try to ensure that whatever we say is in fact correct and accurate. I have heard it said that we do not offer technical/vocational subjects in our schools, this is untrue! All of our schools offer technical/vocational subjects some more than others but all do. I’ve heard it said that we do not teach agriculture this is false! Our primary and secondary schools teach agriculture and some schools have gone on to build green houses and students do write examinations,” Hyacinth stated.
DEEP is being funded by the Government of Dominica through an $11.3-million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.
It is now past the half way stage and has expended about $4.6-million.
Project co-ordinator Randolph Felix noted that the project will spend approximately $5-million on tools and equipment this year.
The following tools and equipment were procured for distribution among schools across the island:
Crop production – $432, 446.00
Special Education equipment and materials $245,180.00
Computers and related equipment – $453,850.00
Furniture making equipment – $43,751.17
Food preparation equipment – $542,855.41
Cosmetology equipment – $297,628.31
Plumbing equipment – $177,024.66
Work place safety equipment – $101,810.33
Physical education equipment – $52,311.90
Mathematics resources – $117,092.22
Garment production equipment – $125,815.14
Electrical/electronic equipment – $71,761.54
Music and VPA equipment – $19.774.83
Automotive repair equipment – $354,930.60