Arguably, the facet of Dominican education needing the most attention is the area of teacher training. The majority of teachers are not certified. At the secondary level, there is no policy of continuous teacher training. Male teachers, particularly at the primary level, are scarce (representing only 20 percent of all primary teachers). Attrition rates among unqualified and temporary teachers, who form the bulk of the teaching force, are high. It is felt that the needs of Dominica's educational system is as follows: all teachers be certified to teach in their content areas; a continuing education program for all teachers be implemented; and male teachers should be actively recruited.
In an effort to increase professional development opportunities and to offer training to unqualified teachers, the Ministry of Education implemented the Teacher Training Project. This project trained unqualified teachers through select coursework. Also, professional development courses were offered for 50 principals and senior teachers. Though this project is surely a step in the right direction, it needs to be expanded to include supplemental training and professional development opportunities for all teachers.
Most promising and ambitious is the Long Term Education Development Plan. The Education Development Plan offers a philosophical and pedagogical blueprint for the education of Dominica for six years (1999-2005). The primary purpose is to raise student achievement with the premise that education leads to increased national and regional development. The Plan has six major components (Andrew 1999):
- strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Education, improving the qualifications and professional development of the teaching staff, and strengthening the capacity of institutions through improved management and performance review
- establishing a Preprimary Council and increasing accessibility to quality preprimary provision through a partnership with the private sector
- introducing a National Curriculum and National Testing for primary and secondary schools and minimizing grade repetition and achieving Universal Secondary Education by 2003-2005
- establishing new levels of staffing and employment and conducting a review of small schools so as to consolidate them either through linking or closure where these are ineffective and inefficient
- improving reaching and learning materials and the provision of free textbooks for core subjects as well as new levels of professional development
- expanding access to tertiary education and the range of course provision, improving the management of tertiary provision by amalgamating current colleges and raising finances to enhance operations.
Andrew, Max. The Education System of Dominica: An Overview. Roseau: Education Planning Unit, 1999.
Ministry of Education, Science, & Technology. Indicators 2000. Roseau: Education Planning Unit, 2000.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceDominica - Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education, Administration, Finance, Educational Research - HISTORY BACKGROUND