Dominica’s Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean, says a decision taken by the administration back in 2005 to implement Universal Secondary Education (USE) is reaping rewards.
The Minister told a press conference last week that the government will now be focusing on delivering quality education.
He says to complement this vision the Government has recognized that focused attention must be placed on early childhood development.
“Initially we looked at Early Childhood Education but then we recognized that we needed to focus not just on educating our children but to focus on the zero to five years,” the Minister noted.
Currently the Ministry of Education and the Government of Dominica are spending significant resources at ensuring that every Dominican child is given an opportunity to access quality early childhood care and development.
In that regard, the Government of Dominica has established a number of facilities using available space at primary schools around the island.
The Minister told the press conference that “the cabinet took a decision to pay the salaries of teachers within those facilities and to date they are seeing the results of this action.”
Saint Jean said Government has recognized that the most critical stage of a child’s development is from the tender age of zero to three.
“As a Government we have to address the issues that confront children at this very early age. Bearing this in mind, we re-visited the early childhood policy that was developed with a view to incorporating the zero to three age bracket,” he noted.
The minister further stated that the Ministry of Education has sought to establish systems and mechanisms within the secondary school system to ensure that every child succeeds.
“It is important to note that not every child is academically inclined and bearing this in mind we must prepare early in order for those children to succeed,” he pointed out.
One such mechanism, he said, is the introduction of the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (QVC’s).
“The focus right now is on the CVQ’s which we launched last September. Our hope is that having looked at the success of this pilot program that it will be launched at all of our Secondary schools within a short time,” Saint Jean said.
The Government of Dominica in recent times has provided a significant amount of resources to ensure that Secondary schools are equipped and well furnished with the tools necessary for effective learning.
According to the Education Minister, the Ministry of Education is now looking to introduce the Child Friendly initiative at Secondary schools.
“It is really a programme that caters to the creation of a safe and friendly environment in which children can do well. We believe that there is need to incorporate the secondary schools in this programme” the Minister said.