Saint Jean issues stern warning to school principals

Principals were told that they should religiously adhere to the Education Act
Principals were told that they should religiously adhere to the Education Act

Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean, has issued a stern warning to schools principals in Dominica, admonishing them to adhere to the Education Act.

The minister made that statement while addressing the Annual Principal’s Meeting held at the Public Service Union Building on Monday.

“We need you the principals to adhere religiously without any deviation to the Education Act,” Saint Jean stated. “Please, importantly we want strict adherence to the National Curriculum Framework. Everything you do, you should be able to refer to the section of the Act, so that if you are challenged you can fall back to the Education Act.”

He reminded principals that the document was not just prepared by the Ministry of Education, it was approved by the Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Saint Jean addressed principals on Monday morning
Saint Jean addressed principals on Monday morning

Saint Jean also raised concerns as it relates to the number of text books used by students at the Grade 6 level.

“I cannot understand that a student in Grade 6, preparing to do the G-SAT Exams, has to purchase 20 text books,” he remarked. “I thought that I was actually hallucinating, until such time that I actually looked at the book list and it was so long I had to tick them out, one after the other until I got to twenty.”

He called on principals and other high ranking officials in the Education Ministry “to do your work” in that regard.

Saint Jean said he plans to make a request to the Chief Education Officer that every school adhere strictly to instructions given by the Ministry of Education, “whether it is private, semi- private, government assisted or full government financed.”

He called on all private schools to cooperate with the Ministry of Education, “because if we don’t cooperate you will have problems.”

Furthermore, Saint Jean warned that no child should be denied entry at any of the schools on island due to lack of furniture.

“We have some principals at some of our schools, it’s a very small minority, who refuse to accept students and they seem to tell the parents that they do not have chairs and they do not have desks and they do not have adequate furniture,” he stated. “Let me say to you, and let me submit to you this morning, that the issue of desks and chairs and the furniture that is required for the smooth and efficient functioning of your school is the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.”

Saint Jean advised Principals to report any lack of furniture to the Ministry of Education and “allow the ministry to do its work.”

“We are loaded with officers within the Ministry, and if there is still a problem the officers in the Minister of Education will report it to the permanent secretary,” he stated. “It will get to me and it will get to the Ministry of Finance who has been mandated by the constitution to find the resources to ensure that our schools are equipped.”

Fontaine told principals to make sacrifices for their students
Fontaine told principals to make sacrifices for their students

Meantime, Acting Chief Education Officer, Melena Fontaine called on principals to make sacrifices for students.

“We have to make the sacrifices and we have to put in the extra time to ensure that our children are placed on the path where success is the watchword,” she said. “Principals it is your responsibility to ensure that the students are placed and remain on that path. It is the responsibility of those of us at the top level to support you. I ask that we put our differences aside, pay specific attention to respecting each other, our supervisors, our subordinates, our students and their parents.”

She said this year ministry’s focus is on Principals, “on you being in your school for the maximum time possible to provide the necessary leadership that will support students’ achievement in both academics and behaviour.”

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  1. Miles
    October 21, 2015

    Hello I agree,I am teacher since 2009. I agree teacher should get a standard pay.

  2. out of south city
    October 20, 2015

    Teaching is the only profession that shapes peoples’ minds for the future. Instead of using your big stick against the teachers, you should encourage them and award them by giving them an increase in pay every year. The most demanding occupation and the less paid.

    It is a shame that a minister of education should belittle the teachers as if they are children for the whole world to see.
    Saint Jean, you should be ashamed of yourself and apologize in public, just as you exposed those teachers in public.


  3. Negre Maron
    October 20, 2015

    I would support a strike. What have they got to lose when they have so little already and are belittled for trying to educate our children with inadequate means, working for a pittance. The man, now our President, caused a government to fall by means of strike action. He did so with impunity and now has risen to the pinnacle of the State. Surely, what was good enough for him then is good enough for the teachers now.

  4. grell
    October 20, 2015

    Communism is taking over,lack of furniture dude,and you blame the principals,smh head now.

    • Stealth Critique
      October 20, 2015

      How is communism involved in this at all?

      • anonymous2
        October 20, 2015

        Mind control.

  5. Roger Burnett
    October 20, 2015

    When I went to school in England during the 1950’s the teachers didn’t use text books: they taught and gave notes from the blackboard.

    In addition to the number of text books, it would be useful to investigate the high cost of text books. For the publisher, there is a guaranteed demand and a significant production run, hence minimum risk. Four years ago the cost of printing and binding 5,000 copies of a 120 page full colour, high quality 5” x 8.5” book, was just over EC$5 per copy! And that included a fee for independent production management and freight charges from China to Dominica.

  6. Independent Observer
    October 20, 2015

    More sacrifices… Madam CEO….. Blood out of stone?…. Hmmm…. Look at the photo…Is anyone really taking them on?

  7. you cannot be serious
    October 20, 2015

    Those “officials” are jokers. Most of them have been teachers or maybe principals but as soon as they get up there forget how hard it is to work in that situation. First they started with the Universal Secondary Education nonsense…and now we have a lot of children in high school who CANNOT read, who don’t know how to spell simple words or even count. Now whose problem is that? The high school principals AND teachers who now not only have to teach the syllabus but also teach these unwilling to learn children those basic skills they should have acquired at primary school.
    In the end sacrifices are being asked to be made? You have no idea how much teachers and principals sacrifice. Some more than others, but it’s done. These guys need to get their heads out of the clouds and come down to that level. Actually come in the schools instead of sitting in their air conditioned offices, raking in a salary that the ones actually sacrificing and working for the students should be getting.

  8. Disappointed
    October 20, 2015

    Dear Mr. Minister and Madam Chief acting,
    Why don’t you advocate for more pay to match all the extra effort that you want principals and teachers to do?
    In all other workplaces, more effort = more pay.. In the MOE, nope…
    If you pay meager salaries, then expect meager work!
    Not one positive thing was said about teachers or principals! Only blows.. Teachers and principals backs must be large.
    Let’s praise and appreciate out educators like they deserve!

    Sincerely yours,

  9. The Real Facts
    October 19, 2015

    The school principals must adhere to the Education Act. Obedience commence from the top. I am shocked to know children are refused attendance as students because there are no desks and chairs for them. I never thought that principals would be informing parents and students about that. Unbelievable! They took it upon themselves to refuse the children education. In other words you do not care and sent them home to do what.
    During school preparation are they not aware of how many students will be attending that school? Then ensure there are sufficient desks and chairs for them. If there are insufficient ones, the first step is to notify the Ministry of Education and they will, hopefully, provide them in time prior to commencement of classes. You cannot take it upon yourself to refuse them schooling.
    How many books do they expect the children to utilize for a few subjects and in a few months during school? Is it any wonder it is stated that some learn nothing.

  10. Free Thinker
    October 19, 2015

    “A people get the governance they permit” so said Dominica’s PM. If Mr St Jean has an issue with a small group of principals, I think that he should address them in another forum. He spoke to them like they were children!! This did not encourage respect for principals.
    There are many issues which the minister and his team need to address and they are not, for example the textbook issue at Bath Estate, the quick turn-over rate of teachers in the government schools and the absence of a school calendar of events from the ministry and the need for training of teachers in the best techniques for diagnosing and teaching students with special needs such as autism and dyslexia among others.
    We have to work together as a team, bashing principals is not solving the problem because within the Ministry of Education there is gross incompetence.

  11. raga
    October 19, 2015

    “We must hunt down the individuals who complain about the little pay that they get but they are the ones that produce the least. We must smoke them out of their holes; we must ensure that they leave in a world that is so uncomfortable that they will not be able to step in the treasury or the bank at the end of the month to collect their paycheck,” Saint Jean said.

  12. October 19, 2015

    Does this man has a conscience? If he does it will remind him.

  13. raga
    October 19, 2015

    No longer must teachers use their own money to buy materials to teach. The act stipulates that teachers must be provided with the resources they need to teach.
    Include that in your speech too Pepper..

  14. u neverknow
    October 19, 2015

    St jean come better

  15. lonevoice
    October 19, 2015

    I wonder when they will speak about appointment for teachers. Monsieur oye.. Teachers are tired of suffering. Hmm.. Mr. Minister you know how it is when schools ask for furniture. Stop the blajaing st Jean..

  16. Cyrique
    October 19, 2015

    Those are the words of a true educationalist. Powerful!! I believe that our Headteachers need to hear this. If St Jean didn’t do this then he would have failed our children. I truly believe in this Minister. God bless you Minister St Jean for caring for our children.

    • Tjebe fort
      October 20, 2015

      And that is why you are a cyrique, a crab and not a head teacher. Shame on you!

  17. October 19, 2015

    Mr Stjean you are right on this text book issue i have a little girl in grade one n has so many text book already so i could imagine when she reaches grade 6

    • Tjebe fort
      October 20, 2015

      You don’t need books now, you have a tablet from the Minister, not so? Use the tablet you voted for!

  18. nigel
    October 19, 2015

    What is this act that he speaks of?? was it something designed by education professionals or just a bunch of ministers who know nothing about education?

  19. Hmmm
    October 19, 2015

    See where the kids get it from? Empty chairs at the front and they pack up like sardine at the back.

  20. Neverson st jean
    October 19, 2015

    Why doesn’t the 18 member cabinet make sacrifices

  21. October 19, 2015

    I am not a fan of the minister but those principal had it coming to them for a long time now. too often they are using the students/children as their scape goats at PTA meetings.

  22. Joseph
    October 19, 2015

    As usual the only profession that is never respected.teachers are the backbone of the nation yet they are never treated with respect and admiration.

  23. Jack
    October 19, 2015

    The entire system is bankrupt , Dominican kids only only 30 percent passes math and science courses. All Teachers needs to be trained, when all these kids go to colleges the reason why our engineeres cannot build a bridge , they were badly educated in the first place. Most of them a bad teachers. Parents needs to be more involve. Quoting shakespear does not create job creators. Get t I’d of the stinking British model of education.

  24. sam
    October 19, 2015

    Sometimes these people forget they were once teachers and can’t remember the struggles of being a teacher. Dont make furniture an issue. Really. Some classes have 45 students in it. Really. So are we supposed to have a 100 students in a class. I must ask again and again and again. What other sacrifice should teachers make. When half their salary lives and well being are placed in teaching with absolutely no rewards or thanks.

  25. IamCassiBruceRu
    October 19, 2015

    while we on that, Hon. petter St jean, our school CBSS,of which you are also one of the parlreps, needs some new desks eh. since the school open in 1999, we have them desk there, time for some fresh ones. and plus we have TWO whole classes that have NO desk.
    I hear you say is all you responsibility. so please and thank you

  26. world peace
    October 19, 2015

    But what is he saying, after all this time is now he discovered that particular grade 6 booklist. Well sir it is telling on you too. Why did ur minstry approve such a book list in the first place. Sir, do your job, too.

  27. world peace
    October 19, 2015

    what is this man saying? Is he listening to himself. At the same time, the classroom can not be overcrowded or overpopulated.

  28. anonymous2
    October 19, 2015

    As you can see education is a dictatorial endeavor without deviation according to Mr. St. Jean. I guess that does along with the dictatorial govt. and mind control. If you control the educational “system” you control the minds of the people. Don’t forget that people. They don’t want people that are independent thinkers. They want people that can be dictated to and do what they are told.

  29. suzzie
    October 19, 2015

    The ministry needs to review the book list as soon as possible. For the life of me I am trying to understand why a grade four students needs four Mathematics books , four English books. Seventeen books for a grade four child . Somebody is not doing their job cause all the book list has a stamped from the Ministry of Education on them. Correct me if I am wrong or its just SMP.

  30. Big Bannan
    October 19, 2015

    Well yes papa, enhancing education with great expectation by eliminating text books. And we wonder why so many children leave school not being my able to properly read and write. How does Mr man know which 20 books should be chosen? Must have been a reason thst were on the list to begin with.

  31. October 19, 2015

    Mr egomania you did not know it was 20 text books,Can you imagine the education minister of a country don’t know the amount of text books needed or rather used in school,where does the book list come from?Dominicans here it is our education minister telling us how lazy and incompetent he is he does’nt even know a basic thing like that. Before the school year starts a book list is issued, we talking education so i expect anything in that department to come from the office of the minister of education, so how is it possible that he don’t know the amount of text books that is on the book list?Can you begin to imagine a builder building your house and long after he started he’s telling you he did not know this or that was on the plan?Oh boy our education system is in trouble

  32. Just Asking
    October 19, 2015

    Too many principals are seen walking around town and not at their schools effective discipline and taking a hold of their school. The vice-principals carries all the load at many school.

  33. Hmmm
    October 19, 2015

    And not only do they have to buy 20 books for Grade 6, they also have to take ALL of them to school everyday as the teachers refuse to set a timetable….all them children ‘bossie’ already…smh

  34. NO SAH
    October 19, 2015

    Mr St. Jean

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones! I please ask that you get your ducks in a row before commenting on Principals and staff at schools. Get your staff in order! It is high time that Ministry of Education officials be held to the same high and strict standards that principals and teachers adhere to. It is utter nonsense that principals and administrative staff of schools are calling on and visiting education officers, and their offices are locked, lights off, with none of the other members of staff knowing where they are at or when they will return to their duties. Administrative staff are fed up of the same old archaic rituals that do not address the needs of the schools or students. So please spare the drama; this is just another facade with the pot calling the kettle black.

  35. Shaka zulu
    October 19, 2015

    That’s what happens when servants becomes master. He been in there too long so he feels like he is Lord. Principals know their school and students best and should be allowed to adjust where needed with approval off course. Increase pay if you want people to go extra mile. The people who need to make kids learning a priority the most are the kids and tier parents. If we leave solely to teacher we are in for a bunch of frustration and stress. Only in Dominica you have a minister of education whoes highest education level is high school telling people about education.

  36. Just Me
    October 19, 2015

    “I cannot understand that a student in Grade 6, preparing to do the G-SAT Exams, has to purchase 20 text books,” he remarked. “I thought that I was actually hallucinating, until such time that I actually looked at the book list and it was so long I had to tick them out, one after the other until I got to twenty.”

    Maybe instead of running your mouth about tablets you should have given some thought to the students having e-books instead of the load of hard copies sir.

  37. Just Me
    October 19, 2015

    “I ask that we put our differences aside, pay specific attention to respecting each other, our supervisors, our subordinates, our students and their parents.”

    What is this about???

  38. pingo
    October 19, 2015

    They need to step up and do their work!

    • 2015
      October 19, 2015

      I agree with the principals. Why is the ministry not providing desks and chairs for the students? Obviously some schools are overpopulated whereas others have space. Send the children where space is available

      October 19, 2015

      i agree with what u are saying the government of dominica have to do their work.

  39. sad
    October 19, 2015

    stupppes tan St. Jean. Under your leadership education and discipline in Dominica is at its worse

  40. October 19, 2015

    Well spoken mr st jean practice what you preach.

  41. Stanley
    October 19, 2015

    What is wrong with this guy treating these educators as little children?

    • annoyed
      October 19, 2015

      Bonjay of course I don’t like stupid people. He is mister of education so they have to listen to him. Go and do your work eh. Smh

    • Tony
      October 19, 2015

      Hello and good evening my people. I would like to know what is Mr St Jean education for him to be Education Minister. All of the Principals have a better education than this man so how can this man stand at a podium and lecture our educators. Again Mr St Jean what’s your education qualifications.

    • The Real Facts
      October 19, 2015

      You do not appreciate the value and benefit of respect and obedience. I think you did not read the article, were falling asleep or fell asleep while reading it I recommend that you re-read it slowly and digest it so that you may comprehend what the Minister and Acting Chief Education Officer stated to the school principals. At this point, no further explanation is necessary for you.

    • yah yah
      October 20, 2015

      same thing i thought…

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