Ministry of Education embarking on initiatives to address low performances says Fontaine

Chief Education Officer Melana Fontaine. File photo

Chief Education Officer, Melena Fontaine has said the Ministry of Education continues to embark on a number of initiatives that seek to address low performances among students, particularly in early grades.

She was speaking at a Teachers and Principals two-day OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme opening ceremony held at the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) Building on Monday.

“Over the years the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development have embarked on a number of initiatives that would seek to address low performances, particularly in the early grades,” she said.

According to Fontaine, there have been increases in the performance of students in literacy, however the data keeps showing the need to do more and to sustain best practices in reading.

“The ELP is helping us to do that through a number of activities that we have been engaged in since it was launched,” she stated.

Fontaine explained that to-date the Education Ministry has built capacity at the ministerial level and also at the Faculty of Education at the Dominica State College (DSC), so that officers would work closely with classroom teachers, providing them with continuous professional development, coaching and feedback in the area of teaching of reading.

She revealed that approximately 94 teachers have been provided with self- training in the last year and they are now well placed to perform the role of literacy coordinators in schools.

Furthermore Fontaine said that the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Faculty of Education at the DSC, participated in the implementation of a virtual coaching model that uses digital technology to coach and guide teachers in the classroom without the coach or supervisor having to be in the classroom.

“Preparations are also ongoing at the regional level for teachers to participate in a specialized reading certificate course and for those who qualify a master’s teacher’s certificate course,” she noted.

Meantime, she pointed out that besides teacher training, having material for the teaching and practice of reading is critical and so materials worth over $EC525,000 has been procured and distributed to schools in Dominica through the project.

“We are still in the process of distribution as we are experiencing challenges created by inadequate storage space within the schools severely affected by Hurricane Maria,” she said.

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15 Comments

  1. mine
    July 4, 2018

    Some parents most help their they can’t leave everything on teachers. If they show interest i think the kids will do better to improve and get better grades.

  2. Ibo France
    July 4, 2018

    Too many teachers see teaching as imparting information instead of sparking a fire inside the students for them to seek knowledge. Many of the lessons are monotonous and bore the students to death. One of the major problems is the execution and delivery of the classroom lesson. They do not excite the children. Lessons are not geared towards critical thinking and analysis, too much emphasis on recall where information is just regurgitated. Too much emphasis is placed on academic achievements and not enough on developing the innate talents and skills of each student (dancing, singing, painting, free drawing, culinary and vocational skills). The system should be much more student-oriented than teacher-oriented. The first two grades of primary school should be used for the students to engage in very exciting activities to build physical coordination, social skills and acceptable behavior.

  3. viewsexpressed
    July 4, 2018

    Melena Fontaine has said the Ministry of Education continues to embark on a number of initiatives that seek to address low performances among students, particularly in early grades.
    Like poor parents in a home, not knowing how to practice good parenting, be decent and honest with their children and family, we are faced with the bigger picture Melena, and that is like parents fail, government and their ministers fail, like this inept PM one we have now. Even disgusting is when I hear high rising top civil servants go down to a level of political disgust and shout out “I Love my PM wi..”. How disgusting.
    Melena, I want to hear you and your colleagues shout out same: Here goes
    “Ministry of Education or other continues to embark on a number of initiatives that seek to address low performances among this government failed PM Skerrit and his incompetent ministers, particularly in early days of taking office where most of them have not mature and just holding a name but lack results.

    • viewsexpressed
      July 4, 2018

      …..con`t….Melena, please be reminded as an early childhood advocate that where parents fail, the home, children fail and suffer where a government fail, engage in corrupt practices and incompetence , the children and citizens of our country fail. It is now before our eyes. Poverty & high employment is high, the technocrats and those who know better in government appears to be embracing Skerrit, a failed leader, where it is your job and that of our civil secants holding similar position in authority are silent and move on as if everything is nice and ok. Well, it is not. I`m just from visiting some villages in the south, Scott’s Head, Carib Territory, Pte. Soufriere area and the life of children and families are poor and shameful. It is disturbing when I hear of the sexual abuse taking place with some level of prostitution that teachers and others quietly talk about. The thing is these communities are isolated, abandoned and wait to receive handouts. Domininca is a failed state.

  4. anonymous2
    July 3, 2018

    The low performance is due to the many distractions and unstable family life that the children live in. Less electronic toys and more reading or story time at the library may help. Tutors also are necessary.

    • viewsexpressed
      July 4, 2018

      I agree…but at that age Paly is the child’s work. They need to play, discover, and do things that brings joy to them. Yes , there needs to be discipline and supervision and observation. Parents and the home is key. Lots of focus to be there. However, This failed PM, has not invested in the social services, welfare department but has increased with a 18 ministers doing BS nonsense and talk hola hop for their failed inept PM

  5. Teacher
    July 3, 2018

    Let children be children. At age 5 children should be learning to be Independent, socially competent and happy. Not bring drilled into learning ABC and 123 much less for repeating a grade. Maybe that should be the Way forward- starting School at a later age!!!

    • July 4, 2018

      Teacher, I totally agree.

      I have always maintained that grooming children from the age of nine for the Common Entrance Exam is a serious form of child abuse. To make matters worse, parents are tempted to pressure their children for the incentive of monetary gain by way of bursaries and scholarships.

      • another teacher
        July 5, 2018

        I agree with you both on this. There is no way, that a 9, 10, 11 , 12 year old is ready for high school. No way!!! These people in the Ministry, who know child development should realize this. Further, there is a growing trend to align more with the US model of education. Most of our what we do now, are almost wholesale Mainland. My thing is, don’t take some of it. Take all of it. The “middle school ” needs to be added. By the end of those 2 years, they are better equipped for high school. It’s pure wickedness if you ask me to continue in this business of sending children to high school.

    • viewsexpressed
      July 4, 2018

      The age of 5 is just perfect. It is the curriculum that need to be adjusted to accommodated the age related students. The teachers also need to be well trained to understand that early childhood stage and accommodate accordingly. The Ministry of Education needs to wake and stop going about “I Love my PM”, he knows noth8ing od the processes of such education and ECD matters,. al he does is attract people who are vulnerable talking idiotic political nonsense and fakes and fakes promises.
      If the well educated in government still don’t see the poverty and suffering our people are going through then they are surely locked down within the four walls of the ministry pushing paper and talking BS on radio about policies that parents unable to comprehend.
      This country is in a state of deviancy under this inept PM Skerrit, that some civil servant protect his nonsense and shout we love our PM. Educated fools, lost in a web of a failed politician and Prime Minister. Dominica is at a halt.

  6. %
    July 3, 2018

    Bla!Bla!Bla! Just talk..

    • Waiting on God
      July 4, 2018

      You couldn’t have said it better…….that’s what they are very good at the Ministry of Education bla bla bla bla and to put their incompetent friends in position and then come and pressure principals and teachers for them to LOOK GOOD

  7. Jah Bless
    July 3, 2018

    Please Ministry of Education listen to your people. Bring back the Junior Secondary Education, stop frustrating the so called slow children. Most of these children just want the opportunity to use their hand and creative abilities. Give them chance Please!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Nac Vibes
      July 4, 2018

      Sound reasoning

  8. law
    July 3, 2018

    The Ministry of Education needs a total overhaul. Once the system remains the same we will continue to see education on the decline.

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