Roseau, Dominica – January 16, 2008……………….. There is a revolution now taking place in the education sector in Dominica. Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit made the announcement at the twenty-fourth inaugural meeting of the Vieille Case Village Council recently.
In his address the Prime Minister impressed upon the parents in the community of the importance of having education as a major priority for their children. Hon. Skerrit, a former College lecturer recalled how many children from Vieille Case did not attend a secondary school back then, “not because we were not bright, not because we did not pass the Common Entrance but because we were engaged in a competitive environment which allowed for only a few of us to have access to a secondary school”.
” Today, from 2005 through the efforts of the Ministry of Education and the Minister and the Government of Dominica, every single child from this village who goes to grade 6 has a space at the Portsmouth Secondary School,” Hon. Skerrit stated.
During his address the Prime Minister also highlighted the fact that record numbers of Dominican students are now pursuing tertiary education. “When I attended 6th Form College from 1990-1992, there were only two of us from the village at the College. Today we have several of our young persons who are sitting at the State College , who are doing Nursing Programmes and various other programmes at the Dominica State College because there is a revolution in education to allow for more of our children to have access to tertiary education,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
According to the Prime Minister, as a result of the efforts of his Government, record numbers of Dominicans are now going to University. “The issue of going to University was like once in a blue moon so to speak. We did not have even a snowball chance in hell of making it to University here in Vieille Case back in the days. And today we have students in almost every single part of the world, from Cuba, to Venezuela, to China, to Louisiana, to Texas, to New York, to the University of the West Indies, Canada, the United Kingdom from Vieille Case.”
The Prime Minister stressed that the opportunities for Dominicans to pursue university training came through the sterling efforts of his Government. “These opportunities did not come because we sat on our laurels, and hoped and prayed that somebody would offer us a scholarship. It came through the Government going out there and negotiating for scholarships. And every Minister of Government who goes out there, the first item on the agenda is scholarships,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.
Hon. Skerrit also revealed publicly for the first time that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela had increased the number of university scholarships available to Dominicans from 50 to 100.
In a call to the young people, the Prime Minister said: “I say to you that any child of university age who is still in Vieille Case is because you do not want to go to university. So I urge you young people that the opportunities can be created by the Government but it is you who must take advantage of it. We can create the opportunities but we cannot force you stay in school beyond the age 16 and therefore the parents, the community, the council must have education at the core, the centre, at the nucleus of its planning.”
“From 2000, I declared to you that education would be my priority as the Member of Parliament for the Vieille Case Constituency and the records are there for anyone to scrutinise and evaluate,” the Prime Minister concluded. (Ends)