“At no time in our history have we seen so much assistance given to students to pursue studies here and abroad,” claims Hon. Henderson
Roseau, Dominica – October 13, 2008……. Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Sports and Youth Affairs, Hon. Vince Henderson has given a progress report on the programmes and activities being implemented by his Ministry. The Minister also provided details of the hundreds of Dominicans at all levels who have been given financial assistance by Government to further their studies.
The Minister made the remarks at a Cabinet briefing with the media recently in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance, Financial Centre, in Roseau.
According to Hon. Henderson, through the School Transfer Grant, which was introduced in the 2007/2008 fiscal year, Government has so far invested $375,000 on 725 needy students to assist them in making the transition from Primary to Secondary School at $500 per child.
An additional sum of $72,400 was expended to provide needy secondary school students from forms 2-5, with assistance to purchase uniforms and books. An amount of $193,000 was invested in assisting 753 needy children in buying textbooks.
The advent of Universal Secondary Education (USE) from September, 2005 has meant that more students are now attending secondary schools, increasing the demand for more transportation to take them to school.
Presently, Government has provided six buses and has also hired private bus drivers to transport children from Penville, Grand Fond, La Plaine, Petite Savanne, Castle Bruce, Carib Territory, Belles, Dublanc and Bioche to the Portsmouth Secondary School, Pierre Charles Secondary School, Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Castle Bruce Secondary School and Secondary Schools in Roseau.
The cost of transportation is being met entirely by Government. Government pays the fuel as well as the salaries of the bus drivers and the attendants, with an investment to date of over $200,000.
The Minister revealed that Government would soon be providing transportation for students in Clifton, Cottage, Campbell and the north-east.
Hon. Henderson also gave an update on a training programme by Government to train the backlog of untrained teachers at Dominica’s schools. In collaboration with the Dominica State College, the Government is meeting the cost of 90 percent of the tuition.
The Minister also revealed that the Ministry is continuing to implement the new national schools curriculum. To that end the Ministry will increase the number of teachers who are trained in the technical/vocational area in every secondary school in Dominica. In this academic year, provisions have been made for 10(ten) scholarships for teachers who wish to pursue technical and vocational training.
Government is also seeking to partner with the University of Technology in Jamaica in its efforts to provide additional training opportunities for Dominican teachers. This is in addition to the partnership agreement with DeVry in the United States and Okanagan College in Canada.
In addition, Government continues to provide financial assistance to Dominicans at Gramblings State University in Louisiana, the University of the West Indies, local and overseas campuses and the Dominica State College as well as other educational institutions in Dominica.
Hon. Vince Henderson also gave an update on the status of a number of schools now under construction.
Work on Phase II of the Dominica Grammar School at a cost of $3.75 million is now 95% complete. Work on phase III which is expected to cost over $7 million is expected to begin later this year.
The $6.2 million Roosevelt Douglas Primary School in Portsmouth is set to be completed in February, 2009. Work is progressing satisfactorily on the San Sauveur Primary School and the Salybia Primary School.
The Minister revealed that the contract has been awarded for the construction of the new Administrative Block at the Portsmouth Secondary School. The cost is estimated at $3.7 million and looks set to begin in late October or early November, 2008.