On Friday, September 20th, the Ministry of Education took a step forward to improve the way students are prepared to become productive citizens.
The Ministry and the Organisation of American States signed a memorandum of understanding that marks the start of a collaboration that is expected to more directly align education with economic development.
The Hon Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Chandler Hyacinth and Kim Osborne of the Organisation of American States represented the two signatory parties.
They explain that education in Dominica will be under the microscope and a plan created that will outline a clear and measurable way to make students better educated in a way that will make them easily productive and contribute to the economy when they leave school.
This push is based directly on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Member states, including Dominica, adopted those goals in 2015 and aim to meet them by 2030.
Friday’s event linked goals four and eight- that is quality education, and decent work and economic growth.
Kim Osborne of the Organisation of American states told the press that work on those two goals begin with this education project.
She shared, “All countries in the Americas including Dominica are fully engaged in operationalizing the 2013 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals but not many have fully assessed the role of education in bringing about the transformational change that the agenda will require. A strong education system broadens access to opportunities, improved health outcomes and bolsters the resilience of communities all while fueling economic growth.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth, discussed the details of the signed MOU.
“The instruments of this project will outline the project format, the general conditions, the execution plan, the reporting mechanism- both technical and financial, the rules for selectign and hiring consulting firms and experts who will be working with the Ministry, the rules for procurement of goods and resources. It also has a monitoring and evaluation plan,” Hyacinth explained.
The Hon Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Petter Saint Jean, says Government has been zooming in on early childhood education.
He says this is where this plan will begin: at the foundation of the education system.
“This focus on Early Childhood Education is a deliberate and calculate policy to grow a human resource base that is fully-trained and prepared for success not only in their personal and school lives but at the community level.”
Minister St. Jean added, “Similarly, we have ensured that we provide our students the opportunity in Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)and Information Communication Technology (ICT) and with the investment at the secondary level, we are positioning our young people to be active participants in the global economy. Dominica cannot be allowed to be left behind.”
More specific details will become available when the actual planning process begins. Participants will discuss restructuring the curriculum to better fill the needs of the local and global economy.
That planning process is being funded by the Development Cooperation Fund of the Organisation of American States at a cost of EC $224,000.