Dominica Passport | Caribbean Recipes | Dominica Photos | Classified Ads | Search Jobs | Advertise here!

Experience Dominica – The Nature Island: Dominica Vacations | Exotic Vacations | Honeymoon Destination

Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


Editor’s note:This article was published in the Editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper on July 31st, 2009.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and other proponents of the controversial Universal Secondary Education (USE) system continue to use deceptive rhetoric to sell the ailing project as a success and refuse to face the fact that it is not working and needs to be fixed or abandoned.

In an interview broadcast during the inaugural international cricket match at the Windsor Park Stadium, PM Skerrit spoke of his expertise and experience as an educator as well as his training in psychology. As the interview unfolded, he mentioned USE as one of his pet projects but maybe his thoughts were more focused on psychology than education at the time.

Indeed, there seems to be perverse psychology at play behind the response of the USE’s advocates to mounting skepticism about the project. It is manifested in a three-pronged approach consisting of rehashing the good intentions of USE, glossing over its failures and implying that critics callously want to keep down “poor people’s children” who fail primary school.

It is a cunning play to stir up people’s raw emotions and hope this clouds their better judgment. But in the long term, it will not work. Those who feel it know it. Teachers, parents and students who are feeling the crushing effects of USE’s flaws cannot help acquiring the distressing knowledge that the system is crumbling around their ears.

No one questions the good intentions of the USE but critics question its effectiveness and practicality. No one expects a complex system like USE to work flawlessly from the inception but no one expects it to be retained if glaring fatal flaws make it unusable and damaging. Furthermore, no one wants to deny any child a secondary education. However, those who fail primary school cannot be dumped ‘en masse’ on secondary schools without dire consequences.

The issues with USE are quite straightforward. Hundreds of students are being admitted to secondary schools. Many are not literate and cannot absorb a normal secondary education. Teachers are being forced to juggle the special needs of such children with the needs of those children who are capable of handling secondary school work. This puts enormous pressure on secondary schools’ physical and human resources and parents, teachers and students are all short changed by the system.

Some advocates of USE point to its success in other countries without regard for the peculiarities of its nature and implementation in Dominica. In nations where USE is working, the learning curve for children who are being brought up to speed is not as long and as steep as it is here. The stark reality is that the gap in knowledge between those who are ready for secondary education and those who are not is monumental, not marginal, requiring massive remedial work that is simply too taxing for teachers and students.

The bottom line is: a school is not a secondary school because a sign on the door says so; it is a secondary school because secondary education is being taught and learnt there. If the students in a school are not being taught at secondary level, it cannot be a secondary school. No legitimate university accepts those who fail secondary school and no legitimate secondary school should accept those who fail primary school.

Dumping children who fail primary school into secondary schools and then teaching them primary school work while pretending they are getting a secondary education is tantamount to creating a “fool’s paradise.”
Give those who fail primary school every opportunity to get further education, but don’t call it a secondary education under USE when it is not.

Have your say.

Share this Dominica article with your friends:

Facebook Twitter Google Buzz Google Bookmarks Digg Reddit delicious Technorati Slashdot Yahoo My Web

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Related Post

On 11 July 2009, people around the world observed the 20th World Population Day in different ways; in Dominica the celebration was distinctively muted.

We lost an excellent opportunity to start to create meaningful change in the lives of our women but it’s never be too late to create a positive movement in relation to this.

The theme “Investing in our women and girls,” should have given the opportunity to several individuals and groups to highlight the accomplishments of outstanding women in their respective communities and at least create a start to a platform that would encourage better treatment for our girls and women, while a the same time challenging them to excel in various spheres of Caribbean living.

Investing in girls’ education delivers well-known returns. When girls are educated, they are more likely to earn higher wages and obtain better jobs, to have fewer and healthier children and to enjoy safer childbirth. Investing in women’s health, especially reproductive health, can not only save the lives of half a million mothers, but also unleash an estimated $15 billion in productivity each year.

It’s time for our decision-makers to begin protecting women’s ability to earn income, keep their daughters in school, and obtain reproductive health information and services, including voluntary family planning.

Together, let us empower women as highly productive members of society, capable of contributing to our country economic recovery and growth.

Share this Dominica article with your friends:

Facebook Twitter Google Buzz Google Bookmarks Digg Reddit delicious Technorati Slashdot Yahoo My Web

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Related Post

brain-drain

If education is the key to development in any knowledge-based economy, then why is Dominica losing so much of its human capital? Maybe the choices are so few.

Dominicans are becoming aware of the large flow of our brains down the drain especially during the annual graduation season of students from Dominica’s Secondary schools and the Dominica State College.

Every year during graduation students are given well-meaning advice on the value of an education and the need to build on whatever they have learnt as they continue the journey of life.

But few of these so-called advisers address the fact that only a small percentage of the graduating students every year will enter the job market; a large number will join the unemployed on the street corner and dozen more will go overseas in search of so-called greener pastures.

Statistics shows that the out-ward flow of the country’s best brains has been so steady over the years that it appears that Dominica’s education system has been commissioned to train persons for the job market of the United States, Canada, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St Martin, Tortola, and other countries in the region. The problem is that these emigrants have been educated to secondary and tertiary level in Dominica and are Dominica’s most productive and enterprising workers particularly at their age.

When are we going to realize that knowledge is a wealth-creating asset to our country’s development? I’m literally pleading with government leaders, to please come up with some incentives that will encourage more of educated brains to stay and help develop our small island economy. Not someone else economy.

Share this Dominica article with your friends:

Facebook Twitter Google Buzz Google Bookmarks Digg Reddit delicious Technorati Slashdot Yahoo My Web

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Related Post




Business Key Top Sites