By Caribbean News Global Contributor
ROSEAU, Dominica – Senior operations officer at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr Martin Baptiste has asked education stakeholders to consider the changes that must be made when developing the new education sector plan, speaking at the opening ceremony of a national consultation for a new education sector plan hosted by the ministry of education in Dominica last Wednesday.
The project is being funded by the government of Canada through the Caribbean Development Bank.
Dr Baptiste described the consultation as timely as the ministry of education is currently at an advanced stage in the finalization of the sector plan.
“We have been pleased to support this initiative and are delighted that you are at this stage of the development of this sector plan. As some of you may know, it has taken some time to get here, and in many ways, this point is timely as it allows you to define the development part for the education sector at a very critical juncture of your country’s development. The STG goals that have been defined for the world, for the region and our countries are intended to be archived just ten years from now, in 2010,” Dr Baptiste stated.
He noted that the CDB is pleased to continue to support this initiative, by assisting Dominica through the ministry of education to develop a new education system.
“And so as you are embarking on defining the development part of education in 2020, it means that we only have one decade to achieve those significant goals that we have defined for the world and the region and for this country. At the CDB we are glad to support this initiative and I know that based on the document that we have seen, considerable work has been done and you are well on the way in defining the sector plan that would assist you in planning out and implementing the development of your education sector,” he noted.
He advised the stakeholders to include strategies that will ensure that the new sector plan will stray away from the traditional way of teaching.
“I want to ask that you consider as you do this plan that you recognize that you are in fact defining a future state. This is not about 2020. You are defining a sector plan that would set out what the educational training system must be in the next 10 to 20 years. And so in many ways, the way you approach this work cannot be traditional; and you have to think about what you would like to see ten years from now in the educational training system as you seek to mobilize the human resource of Dominica because that is absolutely critical to making sure that you continue to advance as a civilization in this region,” Dr Baptiste explained.
Dr Baptiste further noted that the sector plan should reflect future changes that stakeholders want to see in the education system.
“As you finalize this plan, I want to ask you to consider a few transformational initiatives you want to see in the next five years. What are some of the things that you absolutely think must change and must not be the reality of teachers or students, the public at large and education in general,” Dr Baptiste added.
Meanwhile, minister for education, human resource planning, vocational training and national excellence, Octavia Alfred announced that smart classrooms will be implemented in Dominica.
“It’s going to be in cooperation with the Dominica State College but those classrooms will be in the out districts. They are smart rooms that we will have at North East Comprehensive, Castle Bruce Secondary, maybe Portsmouth Secondary as we have plans for five schools. This will mean that people can work in the day and go to school in the night. People can stay in their communities and still complete their degrees,” the minister explained.
“One of the first thing that we will do when these classrooms come in to play is to certify the skills people in our area because we have a lot of people who are skilled in various areas and they do it well but because they are not certified, they miss out on a lot of opportunities. So I am hoping that all the people who prepare food they can get certified in food preparation; also the electricians and all the others can be certified. So we can put in place, firstly, short programs for the people who are already skilled can participate in some short courses so that we can certify them. I am hoping that in cases where our students have one late class maybe they can do it at home so that it is easier for them to complete their syllabus,” Alfred said.