Education Minister Octavia Alfred has highlighted the Government of Dominica’s focus on early childhood education.
She was delivering remarks during the commissioning ceremony of the newly rehabilitated Delices Primary School on Wednesday.
The commissioning of the school forms part of the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Project funded by the Government of Canada through the Caribbean Development Bank in the post Hurricane Maria period.
The US$7.5 million project included the construction of 4 primary schools and other components such as the provision of ICT equipment, furniture, learning materials and supplies.
“This government understands the important role that early childhood plays in the acquiring of basic, social and emotional skills which lay the groundwork for continued success throughout the child’s education,” Alfred said. “Therefore, this government places specific emphasis on early childhood education…we believe that the children of Delices deserve the best from Pre-K, all the way up.”
Alfred said her ministry is proud of the work that has been done in conjunction with other partners to return students across the island to safer structures where they can thrive and expand their knowledge.
She stated that over the last 5 years, the goal was to build better, stronger and more resilient school structures.
“Disasters told us that our schools needed to be built to withstand more intense weather events with the potential to disrupt the schooling of our children,” the minister said.
Alfred urged parents to support their children, their teachers and principal in the pursuit of excellence in education at the Delices Primary.
Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Reginald Austrie who represented Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, referred to the commissioning of the $1.1 million newly rehabilitated Delices Primary School as another example of Dominica’s partnership in action.
“Features such as a library, home economic room, early childhood centre, auditorium and the provision of ICT equipment, furniture and learning material, speaks to the government’s commitment as a government to improve all children in all our schools with an enhanced learning environment for success,” Austrie noted.
He acknowledged government’s responsibility, in this changing global environment, to advance children’s chances for success, “enabling them to be academically competitive in the global situation, good citizens within the community, country and the world and effective within their workplace.”
“It means that the education we offer even at the primary level must engage new technologies, equip students with advanced knowledge and skills and encourage innovation and creativity,” he further stated. “We are seeking to create this culture in all our schools by first providing safe and healthy spaces for positively influencing our academic outcomes for our students.”
The government, he said, is striving to provide students with a strong foundation for further education and training which will prepare them for the knowledge based economy.
He encouraged the children and people of Delices to treasure this gift.
“I wish you every success in your new school; make the best of it,” Austrie advised.
Meantime, Parliamentary Representative for Laplaine, Kent Edwards said the occasion was one for celebration.
“Importantly, it is part of the many development pieces of infrastructure that this government has delivered to La Plaine, Delices and Beotica,” he said.
Edwards credited the Roosevelt Skerrit administration with having “touched every aspect of human life in these communities.”
“We can speak of housing, education, health, agriculture, security, child welfare, elderly care, sports, employment, entrepreneurship, small business to name a few,” the La Plaine MP noted.
The Morne Jaune Primary School was also commissioned on Wednesday. The W.S Stevens Primary School will be commissioned on Friday May 13, from 10: 30 a.m.