Education Minister Petter Saint Jean has announced that the Ministry of Education has put plans in place to help identify teachers who are most suitable for further studies in special education.
He made the announcement at the annual Principal’s Meeting for the opening of the new school year held at the Fort Young Hotel on Friday.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced in the 2017/2018 National Budget that it is the government’s policy to continue to provide support to education at all levels. He said further that this year his government plans to give particular focus to special education, so that students struggling with various learning difficulties and limitations are given equal access to education and opportunities for success.
“We have already put plans in place that will help us to identify teachers who are most suitable for further studies in special education and placed these teachers in Universities within the coming months,” he revealed. “Through its special education office, the Ministry of Education has had a steady hand in identifying students with special needs ranging from various types of learning disabilities to behavioural problems and providing intervention and their support.”
Saint Jean said however, the government recognizes the need to upgrade and increase the services provided, “and therefore allocation in the most recent budget will meet a growing need to improve on these services for children with special education needs, integrating them into the regular school as far as practically possible and also providing support to their parents and caregivers, so that they too understand the needs of their children and can care for them in a most meaningful way.”
He went on to say that the Ministry of Education is also seeking to ensure that all students within school system benefit from quality education.
“We are cognizant here that quality education is highly dependent on quality instruction in the classroom,” Saint Jean noted. “In order to attain this, we have a responsibility to staff our schools with qualified teachers who are trained in teacher education.”
He said it is the responsibility of, “all of us” to provide students with the right environment that promotes effective teaching and learning.
Saint Jean stated that Principals have a most important role to play in ensuring that students receive the best opportunities for education.
“You must not only be effective, but also transformational managers leading your staff and students in the direction that is most progressive for them,” he said.
“We expect that in your trusted position, you will be able to be decisive in ways that are parallel to the mission of the Ministry of Education, which is that every child can learn, every child can succeed through the provision of high quality education,” he added.
Meantime, he revealed that the Ministry of Education has collaborated with the Dominica State College (DSC) to provide graduate teachers who are without formal teacher training with the opportunity to enroll in a post-graduate diploma programme and thereby become trained teachers.
“I am pleased to announce that tuition has been waived for them and we are really hoping that teachers within that grouping will enroll in the programme within the next year or so,” Saint Jean remarked.
Saint Jean pointed out that his Ministry also continues to explore other training options.
He also made it clear that to be appointed a qualified teacher one must be formerly trained at a tertiary institution and follows a programme that includes teaching practice.
“This thrust to my mind is a most resounding indication of our commitment to developing our human resource capacity, so that our children are given the best opportunities for success at our schools,” he noted.