Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean has said he believes the time is right to make significant changes in Dominica’s education structure and greater investment in the system.
“I believe this is the time that we have to consider more than ever before where we can make major adjustments to the education structure and invest significant new resources to redevelop the system and to establish new pathways,” Saint Jean said while delivering remarks at the Dominica Association of Teachers’ (DAT) 20th National General Meeting on Wednesday.
The minister urged educators to see themselves as an enabling force, “enhancing the joy of learning and inculcating curiosity in our students which will serve them well over their lifetime.”
He said a major impetus is the need to shift away from an overemphasis on academic grades and assessment and to invigorate the classroom through applied and inquiry-based learning.
Saint Jean went on to say that there is indisputable evidence that many students, parents, teachers and members of the public are supporting this idea of more engaged teaching and learning.
Saint Jean stated also that principals and teachers understand that the professional demands on them are ever increasing, “yet I believe that they welcome the challenge and as government, we have invested heavily in education because we see it as a fundamental driver of economic and social mobility.”
He said in the past 15 years the government has set an unprecedented record for advancing the education of our children and young people in Dominica.
“This contribution to education and the development of our human resource is unparalleled,” he stated. “Hundreds of Dominicans have completed studies in various fields of endeavor and hundreds more are currently pursuing studies in areas of national priority.”
He added, “This includes a number of our teachers in whom your government have invested in excess of $12 million over the last two  financial years.”
Saint Jean pointed out that his ministry is cognizant of, and recognizes the daily changes that confront teachers within the service.
He suggested that in order to make a sustainable change that empowers professionals in Dominica, “we must work together with a common purpose.”
“I can say without fear or contradiction that the Ministry of Education has been a partner of the Dominica Association of Teachers in the pursuit of a better and more conducive work condition for our teachers,” he noted. “We must understand that for our teachers to give out their best they must feel appreciated in the workplace and more than anything, they must be compensated adequately.”
Saint Jean mentioned that the DAT, as the representative body for teachers, has done an exceptional job representing the interest of teachers.
He encouraged the DAT to continue to represent their membership in a responsible, yet aggressive manner, to ensure that their most pressing concerns are addressed.