President of the Dominica State College Dr. Donald Peters is suggesting that O.E.C.S countries find cost effective ways to make maximum use of their public education facilities and institutions.
Dr. Peters made the observation when he addressed a recent panel discussion on the implications of the O.E.C.S Integration process.
Peters says because of the high cost of public higher Education, regional Governments are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of its human resource base.
He said this problem could be addressed if resources are shared among islands of the region. Dr. Peters during his presentation referred to a practical example of how this could be done.
He said “If the Dominica State College is offering eco-tourism, adventure tourism and hospitality and we have only ninety students in the programme, however St. Vincent is offering the same programme but have only twenty-seven students in the programme we have to find where maximum use can be made of these resources.”
Dr. Peters further rationalized his argument saying” We plan to build a Marina in Portsmouth and we are going to need people to repair boats. We don’t have a Marine university in Dominica to train our people. St. Vincent on the other had has put a lot of money into its marine programme so therefore St.Vincent can do it.”
Dr.Peters continued,” I know if I have to train these people in Dominica, I would have to put in a place a new department of marine technology at the Dominica State College. That would cost millions of dollars. The answer to this situation then is I would send my students to St.Vincent and they would send their students to be trained in adventure tourism here in Dominica.”
The Education Official is also advocating for more cross boarder education among islands of the Caribbean. He is hinting to the development of a common curriculum for all O.E.C.S states.
“People need to get together and try to put together a curriculum that can meet the needs of the Caribbean people. The reason this is so important is that we all need to be educated. Education cannot be a luxury of the elite anymore, because all of us will suffer if we cannot get people to fix our cars, build our houses, and repair our systems when they crash. We need professionals and we need colleges and Universities to do it anywhere in the region.” Peters argued.
Peters said the region is very small and the O.E.C.S has taken the leadership role in forming the O.E.C.S Economic Union. Dr. Peters is looking forward to regional countries taking full advantage of it in the field of higher education.
The panel discussion on O.E.C.S Integration was organized by the Establishment, Personnel and Training department and was held at the Public Service Training Centre (PSTC) in Roseau.