Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is encouraging the teaching of more of local history at schools in Dominica, saying the children should know more about the island’s cultural heritage.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of Dominica’s 40th Independence/Reunion 2018 activities held at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday, he called for parents to play a greater role in the education of their children, questioned whether enough prayer is being said at schools and raised concerns about the environment and littering.
“I have said, and I will say it again this evening, that at our primary and secondary schools in Dominica there are just too many academics subjects our children are exposed too,” he said. “We need to ensure that we teach our children the history of Dominica, the history of our Caribbean and to also expose our children to the cultural heritage of our country.”
According to Skerrit, a student might get 12 and 13 one’s at CXC, which is commendable and this he said must be applauded, “but how much do they know of our cultural heritage?”
“How much do they know of our history? How much do they know of our tradition?” he questioned.
He believed that Dominicans have an obligation, a duty to ensure that succeeding generations can partake in and appreciate the island’s cultural heritage.
“Do we greet each other as we did back in the days? Do our children show respect for seniors in our society as we did before? Do our children greet us on the streets as we did back in the days?” he asked. “One gets the sense that the more developed you get, is the more you relinquish your cultural heritage and I want to caution our country, that it is our cultural heritage that distinguishes us from the rest of the world.”
The Prime Minister also touched on education stating that parents must play a greater role in their children’s education.
“We have left the education of our children only to our teachers and then we blame our teachers if they do not succeed, not recognizing that they spend 19 hours of the day at the homes and in the community, and therefore we in the society, we have a bigger role to play in the education of our children,” he stated.
Skerrit encouraged parents to be part of their PTA’s and called on the clergy to assist in guiding “the young minds in a spiritual and biblical way, where we with regards to prayer in the school.”
“When I went to school we prayed in the morning, we prayed before we went home for lunch, we prayed when we came back from lunch and we prayed when we were leaving for the day,” he noted. “How many times do we pray at schools in the day or in the week?
He said that children should be made to understand that they don’t need fancy things to succeed.
“Let us let our children understand that you do not need to have fancy things to succeed, that no child needs a computer or a tablet to do well, because our children who sat the CXC this year with no lights, no internet, no roofs did very well in the Caribbean,” he remarked.
Meantime, he raised concerns as it relates to the environment and littering.
“It is almost like we in Dominica, we pride ourselves in littering our country. That unless the country does not look dirty we are not satisfied, we have to dumb more along the streets, and the valleys, rivers and beaches of Dominica,” Skerrit remarked.
He stated that one cannot boast to the world that Dominica is the nature island of the Caribbean, merely by the trees and the rivers and natural beauty and fauna.
“We must do more to protect and preserve our nature, our environment and therefore we need to ask ourselves, are we doing enough as a nation to keep Dominica clean and to keep Dominica beautiful?” he asked.
Skerrit went on to say that back in the days people had small homes, “but every one of our homes was clean and had beautiful flowers surrounding it.”
“Let us go back to these days, yes we have bigger homes now, but we need to beautify those homes, beautify those streets, and beautify our country so that we all can be proud of our beautiful country,” he said.
The 2018 Reunion Celebrations is celebrated under the theme: “My Love, My Home, My Dominica- Building a Resilient Nation.”