The Dominica State College (DSC) is moving to make its education strategy one that is student-centred and according to the institution, one way of doing so is through the DSC's internship programme.
Dr. Donald Peters, President of the DSC, says that the objective is to make the college learning process useful to students in more ways than one.
“One of the things we have gradually introduced here is something called student-centred learning. It is different from ‘chalk and talk’ which is how we [taught] people before. Universities today want to make sure that when they train a student they are able not only to quote theories but to also do hands-on work. Teaching methodology is a part of our future. Most of our younger faculty can do it, however we have to work with and train some of our older faculty members how to do student-centred learning. [We are trying to utilise our faculty. Even I am back in the classroom teaching two courses. We are doing so to ensure that our students have work skill and what we call ‘work ready skills’.”]
According to Dr. Peters, this strategy by the DSC corresponds with international tertiary education standards.
“In the 21st century, every university has to realise- and most of them do- that internship programme are integral parts of the graduation process. Universities and colleges today must provide opportunities for students to gain experience. For example, North Eastern University in Boston uses this as a way of developing their core programme and now they have 48,000 students. The objective of an internship programme is to create opportunity for college students to learn work skills and for the employers to gain a pool of young graduates whom they can train...”
The DSC believes its internship programme gives students a head start in the competitive world of work.
“You have to go out there and find jobs but you have an advantage over other students in that you already have work skills. Remember Dominica is part of CARICOM and part of the OECS which means free movement. The students training at GIS can go to work for St. Lucia Voice with no work permits. They can just apply for a job and get hired in Grenada or St. Lucia where there is a larger market. An advantage is that with their experience our students can work all over the world,” said Dr. Peters.
At least three hundred students of the DSC have been placed at various organisations across the island.
As of this March, six students assigned to the Government Information Service (GIS) have been exposed to the practical aspect of media and journalism.
Eighteen year old, Colette Ambo, a second-year English, French and Spanish major who intends to make her mark in the field of Communication is one of those students.
She explained, “I have learnt a lot of great things that are not taught at school, I got hands-on experience in an actual work place and I don’t think I would have been able to get that kind of experience in a classroom.”
However, to her, the experience has not only been educational but enjoyable as well.
“It has been a great experience thus far; the staff is very welcoming and very friendly. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be because the staff helped ease us into the work programme and make us feel more comfortable.”
The Dominica State College says it is satisfied with the progress of the programme so far and looks forward to the feedback from both the interns and organisations at the culmination of the exercise in October.