At the Excellence in Education Awards Ceremony last Thursday, Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit emphasized how crucial education is to his government.
The Prime Minister stated that key to economic growth is a functional work force which can only come from a sound education policy.
He gave an illustration of just how important education is when in the face of economic difficulty, it was suggested that a number of schools with small populations be shut down.
“I recall in 2004, a study was done to close certain small schools in Dominica and the World Bank came to me, I remember very clearly, a Ms. Robinson came to me to say that the World Bank supports this initiative to close certain small schools in Dominica. They knew that I was very much opposed to the closure of small schools so I told Ms. Robinson let’s take a drive to Belles, so I put her in the Government vehicle, I drove. I said to her well, you know the distance from Belles to Marigot and you know the distance from Belles to Mahaut, if I were to close this small school, which is the heartbeat of the community, where should I send those students to school?”
“I sit here this morning and I see the accolades that have been showered upon a small school which is part of the programme of small schools, the Dos Dane Primary School. Dos Dane was identified as one of those small schools for closure and so was the Thibaud Primary School. Rest assured this government, which I have the pleasure to lead, will never ever close any so called small school in Dominica.”
The Prime Minister reiterated that education is a top priority on his Government’s agenda.
He told educators that education should be just as important to them and they should take their tasks seriously at every educational level.
“I expect you to play your part in ensuring that all students are able to reach their full potential and be successful in life, work and in society. You are serving at a time when the Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Education has embarked on an ambitious programme to provide early childhood education to all children between 3 to 5 years of age. I mention this because I know as educators you will agree with me that it is important to place emphasis on education at this very early stage because we do not want to miss the opportunity to impact on the lifelong learning of our children at this impressionable age.”
“It is the policy of this government that no child will be left without a place in a pre-school facility. On a day like this when we honour sterling contributions to education, it reminds me why this government took the necessary decision to ensure that all of our children are exposed to the training and care that can be found in Dominican classrooms under the tutelage of a good teacher.”