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PART II: THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
As the greatest resource of any country a peoples potential can only be realised through a system of education relevant to the aspirations, needs and development goals of that country.
Table 1:Organisational Structure of the Education System in Dominica (not available)Source: Education Planning Unit, 1998
The education system is governed by The 1997 Education Act.. This act is the first to be passed in the OECS Education Reform Initiative. Regulations to support the act are being written. The 1996 Education Strategy Letter sets out the broad education, training objectives and policies that will be followed until 2001.
As for other OECS territories, the education system is organised into four main levels, pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary, and is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE). The church plays a significant role in education, however, accounting for 22.4% of enrolment at the primary level and over 46.4% of secondary school enrolment and GOCD assists the numerous private schools by meeting salary costs. The MOE is currently participating in the implementation of an Education Reform Strategy developed in common by OECS member states, with some centralised services and located in the OECs Secretariat in Castries, St. Lucia. Funding is being provided under GOCDs Basic Education Project, co-financed with the World Bank to address, inter alia, a number of identified deficiencies at the management level. Significant strengthening is expected to be achieved in terms of school supervision, teacher and principal evaluation, Planning and development, data collection, processing and reporting, modernisation of equipment and staff training.
In Table 2.1 it is obvious that total public expenditure for all levels of education has increased from EC$24.9M to EC$54.7M in the period under review, but its percentage share in the national budget fluctates between 12% and 16% attaining a low of 11.7% in 1998/99. Its percentage share in respect to total current expenditure is 16.53% in 1998/99 compared to 16.64% in 1990/91.
Expenditure on education overall (EC$38M) is aproximately 17.3% of total recurrent for the period 1998/99, with primary education being the main consumer of public resources allocated to education (51.7%), followed by secondary education (24.8%), local post-secondary allocations (7%) and contributions to the University of the West Indies (UWI) (5%). See table 2.2 on changes in allocation patterns of educational expenditure by levels of education and programmes.
Table 2.1 General Indicators of Public Expenditure on Education, EC$ 1990- 1999
Educational Planning Unit, 1999
Since education in Dominica cannot be the sole responsibility of any one agency, the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica acknowledges the role of denominational bodies, community organisations and individuals in the education process. Furthermore, it reaffirms its commitment to the systems of dual control that exists.
The current organisation of the entire system is based on a combination of the British and North American systems of education: years 1and 2 for pre-schoolers age 3 to 4, grades k to 6 for primary school students from 5 to 12 years, forms 1 to 3 for junior secondary schools, forms 1 to 5 for traditional secondary schools and years 1 and 2 for form 6.
There is no doubt that the system may benefit from a straight conversion of all the forms to grades, consistent with most modern education systems. In this case forms 1 to 5 could then become grades 7 to 11 and form 6 could become grades 12 and 13.
The primary cycle is divided into Infant up to grade III, and Junior up to grade VI in which the students sit the Common Entrance Examinations for selection to the secondary cycle.
The secondary cycle is divided into Junior, up to form 3, and Senior up to form 5, where the students sit examinations for entry into college programmes at the Clifton Dupigny Community college (offers A Level and TVET programmes), the Teachers Training College, and the Princess Margaret Hospital School of Nursing. These are all two year programmes. Thereafter, students progress to the university.
The system comprises the following institutions:
53 are Govt. Owned (23 of them have Junior Secondary Programmes from form 1 to 3)
5 are Govt. Assisted and 5 are Private
15 Secondary schools with an age range of 12 to 16+ in Forms 1 to 5. Of these: 6 are Govt. Owned
8 are Govt. Assisted
1 Private Grant Aided
These institutions are supported by a Chief Education Officer, Assistant Chief Education Officer, District Education Officers, Specialist Education Officers and Specialised units such as the:
Education Trust Fund (ETF) - (Needs-based assistance to pupils and students)
Curriculum Development Unit (CDU)
Project Management Unit (PMU) - (Inc. Gen. Procurement & Building Maintenance)
Textbook Distribution Scheme (TDS) - (Inc. Scholarship/ Bursaries Scheme)
Education Planning Unit (EPU)
Measurement & Evaluation Unit (MEU) - (Inc. Common Entrance Examinations)
Learning Support Secretariat/ Unit (LSS)
Materials Production Unit (MPU)
The transition rates from primary to secondary schools were once among the lowest in the region, but in 1999 the rate of transition has now positioned Dominica in the top five in the region. For example, between the period 1984 - 1992, an average of 609 students per year, representing about 31% of the population who wrote the examinations, were admitted to secondary schools. This figure now stands at 60.5% (1998).
In November 1995, the government of Dominica approved the proposal to implement a comprehensive reform of the compulsory education sector - the Basic Education Reform Project (BERP). The Ministry of Education viewed this project as the first stage in reforming the entire education system. The goal of this reform was to improve the efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of the education system, and to equalise access to educational opportunities for all school-age citizens.
To enter the teaching service a candidate must have attained 4 subject passes at GCE/CXC including English and Mathematics. There is still a backlog of untrained teachers in both the primary and secondary cycles. Unqualified Assistant Teachers are upgraded to Qualified Assistant Teachers on successful completion of a training programme at the Dominica Teachers college. These programmes are run in collaboration with the Faculty of Education of the University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados.
There are inequalities in the allocation of quality teachers across and within districts and gender inequality still remains a challenge. A high percentage of male students experience very little interaction with male teachers in the primary cycle, due to the fact that few males are recruited and few ever enter the profession. It is thought that the feminisation of education has had detrimental affects on the male student and hence male marginalisation both in the school and the wider society (Burton-James, 1998). The low percentage of male teachers, 28% in primary and 30% in the secondary is a very serious issue which needs to be addressed with due urgency. Male students persistently underachieve and there is a high repetition rate of male students at both primary and secondary levels. The present composition and allocation of teachers is not conducive to equal access to quality education. See tables 3a, 3b and 3c.
Wastage is pervasive throughout the system. There is high attrition among unqualified and temporary teachers who form the bulk of teachers who generally teach the lower secondary forms. Student repetition and student dropouts at lower forms in secondary schools suggest linkages between the attrition among unqualified teachers and wastage in the system. See Indices - Table 6: Indicators 9 and 10 and Table 8: Indicator12.
The Dominica Teachers College, with a 66% graduation rate over the past years needs to significantly increase the output of trained teachers to adequately service the system. It is evident that the college needs injections of investments to procure adequate resources and professional training.
Table 3a:Gender Disparity in Staffing
Table 3b: Gender Disparitity in Staffing - Primary
Education Planning Unit, 1999
Table 3c: Gender Disparity in Staffing: Secondary
Education Planning Unit, 1999
Early Childhood Education:
The Ministry of Education provides regulatory and monitoring functions, with the responsibility for supervision of pre-school education being vested in the Catholic Social Centre which advises on the suitability of physical facilities for the establishment of pre-schools, conduct training workshops for the pre-school teachers and ensures that the curriculum of pre-school education throughout the island is uniform and that children do not remain in pre-school beyond the age of five. Pre-primary education is largely voluntary and privately financed.
The government has undertaken the following steps to safeguard and develop services to children of pre-school age as follows:
The formulation of regulatory functions and policies for the Pre-school sector (1997 Education Act)
Policy commitment to the development of early childhood education (CARICOM, UNICEF, 1997)
Policy commitment to full enrolment of the pre-primary age group in ECED programmes (CARICOM, 1997)
The Ministry of Education provides assistance in teacher training activities and a co-ordinator for the programme.
Prior to 1986 pre-school education in Dominica was supported, through the Catholic Social centre, by the Van Leer Foundation based in Holland. Van Leer withdrew its assistance in 1986 but continued funding what may be considered a Parenting Education Program for teenage parents in the period 1986 - 1992.
Pre-schools are classified as assisted or private. In 1998, out of a total of 82 schools, 15 were assisted by government. In 1997/98 of the 3 800 children between the ages of 3 to 5 years, a total of 2 590 (1 258 boys and 1 332 girls) were enrolled in pre-schools across the 5 education districts:
Southern = 405
Northern = 445
Eastern = 365
Western = 329
Roseau = 1 020
There are 85 schools in operation, many of which operate as single session centres (generally between 9a.m. and 12a.m. in school term times). There is scope for the pre-schools to become double session centres offering access to different children in the afternoons, and to provide holiday schemes in support of working parents. All 85 pre-schools are privately run, 19 sponsored by the Social Centre, 40 by private individuals and 26 with assistance from churches. There are no pre-schools run within the government sector.
The number of children enrolled in pre-schools in 1997/98 in 82 schools was 2 584 of which 1 247 (48%) were boys and 1 337 (52%) girls. This represented 64% of the relevant age group in the population - Table 4.1.
Table 4.1 : Pre-Schools: No. of Schools, Children, Teachers (not available)
Year No. of schools Enrolment Teachers (F) Pupil-teacher ratios / Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
The data indicates that the pupil-teacher ratio is constantly improving. Ninety-three per cent of the teachers have no academic qualifications, and about the same amount has had no formal training. The few that are trained attend SERVOL based in Trinidad. Overseas training has been discontinued. Local training is an ongoing process which is provided at the Social Centre, and on site support is provided by the Christian Childrens Fund, Dominica Save the Children, the Social Centre and the two pre-school officers of the Ministry of Education. The social centre was able to continue its internal programme with funds from UNICEF, school fees and fundraising. Training has not yet been certified by any tertiary level institution, and teachers are not yet able to accumulate credits on a formal basis towards certification.
Currently, the geographic spread of pre-schools is not proliferate enough for one to be within easy reach of all pre-school aged children. Areas where no schools exist are often those where poorer families live and where children may suffer other disadvantages. All schools have to charge fees to cover the cost of teachers salaries. These fees vary from EC$5 a month to EC$250 per term. Average fees are close to $62 per term. Although many NGOs are involved in providing assistance, there are many cases of families who are unable to pay the fees and so their children are denied access to pre-school education.
Currently there are no national funds such as the Education Trust Fund to provide support for such families.
The curriculum among the schools is not applied consistently and the teachers are poorly trained. The result being inconsistent standards. 145 teachers (1999) work in pre-schools. Over 30 teachers have over 15 years experience, 47 have between 8 and 14 years experience, and 68 have less than 5 years. The education levels of teachers vary, but most teachers attended high school. 27% have between one and five subjects at CXC and or GCE. Salaries for pre-school teachers range between EC$150 and EC$1 900 per month.
Beyond the payment of the salary of the co-ordinator and the annual government allocation, the Ministry of Education makes no further contribution to pre-school. education. Funds allocated by government (about $40,000 annually) are used to assist recommended pre-schools with the payment of rent (see Table 4.2). In 1997/98 for example, government support to pre-schools totalled EC$49 000. This contributed to the subventions to the ALPHA Centre (EC$12 000) and the Social Centre (EC$19 200) for pre-school support; subsidies to individual teachers salaries (about 10) and to individual schools towards rent payments (EC$3 800) and for training and materials (EC$14 000). The percentage share within public current expenditure is quite low over the period under review, from 0.12% in 1990/91 to 0.22% in 1998/99. The cost per pipil is woefully low ranging from $13.37 in 1990/91 to $48.47 in 1998/99.
Public expenditure on pre-school education has been constrained by the private nature of the provision.
Table 4.2 Indicators of Public Expenditure on Pre-Primary Education, EC$
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
Basic and compulsory education applies to ages 5 to 16 and begins with the primary level where universal coverage has been attained. Approximately 13 418 pupils are enrolled in 54 public schools, 5 assisted schools and 5 private schools. Enrolment levels have decreased by about 15% since 1984 and are projected to decline further until 2001. See Table 5.
Quality is seriously jeopardised by the poor physical conditions of many schools and there are also evident inequities in access, some schools being very overcrowded particularly in the urban areas around the capital. Low achievement has been attributed inter alia to: the poor quality of teachers and teaching. 36.8% of teachers fell into the unqualified category in 1998.
Qualitative and quantitative problems relating to educational equipment, supplies, books and teaching/learning materials have improved since 1995 under the U. W. P Government with free textbooks now being provided to all students of primary and as of September, 1999 the textbook scheme has now been extended to secondary as well.
Table 5: Primary School Enrolment
Year No. of Schools No. of Students No. of Teachers Pupil-teacher Ratio ( not available)
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
Access to primary education is free, universal and compulsory. Enrolment in 1997/98 was 98%. The country has an estimated 19 692 primary school places, giving an excess capacity of 31%. However, the distribution of population and the drift from the districts into the capital has resulted in overcrowded schools in Roseau and very small schools in the districts.
Due to the falling birth rate and high emigration, student numbers continue to fall over the period 1985-1998 and this trend is likely to continue which will lead to a fall from 13 418 in 1998/99 to 10 804 in 2005/6. Gross enrolment rates are also expected to decline. the reason for this is three fold:
1. currently, the gross enrolment rate is 104.7% due to repetition but a target has been set to reduce repetition to zero.
2. it is assumed that National Testing will be introduced in 2001 to replace the CEE and that no further 12 to 13 year olds will enter the JSP sections of primary schools.
3. over the 7 year primary period (Grades K to 6) there will be a small reduction due to migration and dropout.
Because this sector is highly controlled by the government it has seriously sought to reduce the numbers of teachers employed since 1992 given the drastic fall in enrolment. Moreover, together with the World Bank, the state has set a target for the pupil-teacher ratio by the year 2005 at 1:30. By 2001 there may be some increase in the primary school age population but this will probably be offset in the primary schools by the increased rate of transition of children of the post primary age group into the secondary schools. Detailed analysis will be needed to refine the projections.
In 1998 the total enrolment for all schools was 13 575 and there were 593 teachers with a pupil - teacher ratio of 22.89 which is very favourable compared to a sample of countries. (Tables 5,6 and also the Indices section: Table 7 indicator 11).
Table 6: Comparative pupil - teacher ratios of selected countries (not available)
Source: UNESCO Statistical Year book 1993
It must be noted that the public schools are better staffed in terms of the teacher - pupil ratio but the staff quality in terms of academic attainment and professional training needs investigation (see table 7). These favourable ratios have not resulted in any clear improvement in the quality of primary education. In the indices -Table 6: indicators 9 and 10 indicates an increase in the percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications and the percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards. These indices moved from 38.2% in 1991 to 63.3 % in 1998/99.
Decisions on staff to student ratios and the Organisation of schools and curricula are only part of a complex of decisions on delivering educational services, all of which have large financial implications.
The system - wide financial impact of small changes in ratios is considerable. Hence, schools should be:- -guided on their staffing needs in view of the limited resources available;
-helped to use staff efficiently and
-advised on economic alternatives on organising curricula and time-tables.
For this crucial leadership role, the Ministry needs more trained, senior staff. This appraisal refers to the whole education system and not the primary sector only.
The Ministry of Education has a policy to increase the financial efficiency of this sub-sector by increasing TPR to 1:30. However, in practice this is being revised downwards to 1:25. The process was started for the school year 1998/99 with a reduction of 16 staff across all primary schools. Further adjustments will be made in 1999/2000, managed mainly by non-renewal of temporary contracts. Staff reductions are impacting on small schools in a more than proportionate manner, thus increasing the number of multigrade classes and schools, for which it is recognised that the teachers would need training and differentiated instructional materials would be required.
It is also recognised that there are inequities in teacher allocation across and within districts, a factor which will be addressed by the 1999 -2010 Education Sector Plan which will initiate a process of transfer of teachers between schools.
The Education Strategy Letter 1996 states that the government will consolidate a number of small primary schools. However, more recent thinking suggests that no schools will be closed but that an alternative plan envisages the pairing of small schools (Satellites) to larger schools (Cores) with a Principal for the Core-Satellite school and a Teacher-in-Charge (Senior Teacher) at the satellite school as well as at the Core school. This involves small schools with a school population of less than 60 pupils. At the same time, the government has adopted the policy to develop a career path for teachers by the appoinment of a new category of teachers to be called Senior Teachers (salary-wise, this category will be equivalent to a Specialist Teacher) from which future principals will be eventually selected. The supply of these teachers will ultimately depend on the respective school population.
Table 7: Enrolment of Students and No. of Teachers at Public, Assisted and Private Primary Schools, 1994 - 1998 (not available)
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
A National Standard for pupil attendance has recently been set at 95%. In the 1997/98 school year, only 26 schools met this target in Term One, 5 schools met it in Term Two and only three schools achieved it in Term Three (EPU-Education Planning Unit, 1998). This decline is attributed to Carnival in Term Two and to early leaving following the CEE (Common Entrance Examinations) in Term Three. However, the figures indicate an improved attendance over 1996/97 (EPU, 1997).
The number of tuition days use to vary from school to school, but recently (1999) the Ministry of Education has determined that the norm be 195 days. This disparity is largely due to a practice in some schools of closing on the last Friday of each month to enable teachers to collect pay cheques. The Ministry of education has signalled its intention to stop this practice which could provide an additional 8 days of tuition per pupil per year which is equivalent to almost an extra term during the 7 years of primary education. The data which is available indicates a high level of teacher attendance of 96% for the 1997/98 academic year (EPU, 1998).
Recent data indicates that for the last three years the number of drop outs is falling from a high of 78 pupils (0.54 of 1%) out of 14 320 pupils in 1996 to 20 pupils (0.14 of 1%) out of 13 575 pupils in 1998. In 1997/98 a total of 51 pupils dropped out of school. Of these, 37 were boys and 14 were girls. In 1998 the differential was much greater between the sexes with 18 boys and only 2 girls dropping out. This gives a drop out rate of 0.51% for boys and 0.21% for girls. Although these figures are small they do indicate that some children did not complete the primary cycle of education which is likely to lead to disadvantages in employment prospects and prosperity in their adult lives. It is very likely though that these dropouts are really migrants who have left to join families overseas (CSO Statistics on Migration, Ministry of Finance, 1998).
Nationally, the repetition rate has fallen from 779 in 1996 to 330 in 1998. The overall percentage of repeaters of the total numbers of pupils in the primary sector has fallen from 5.4% to 2.4%. As with drop out rates the boys significantly outnumber the girls. Grades at which repetition is most prevalent are on entry to school at Grade K, just before CEE at Grade 6 and just before JSP (Junior Secondary Programme) examinations at Form 3. Of these, the greatest number of repeaters are at Grade 6. In relation to passing the CEE, the repetition rate was 12.97% in the school year 1997/98. See Table 8(a) and in the indices section: tables 8 and 9: indicators 12-14. Nationally, the survival rate to grade 5 has improved to 94% (1998/99), and the coefficient of efficiency to grade 5 is 87.8%. This means that the coefficient of efficiency in primary education is satisfactory and stands at 73.1%
Table 8(a): Repeaters and Repetition Rates in Primary Schools
Education Planning Unit, 1999
However, there are no fixed (standard) criteria for success or failure which leads to inequities in the system. In addition , there do not appear to be any programmes in place for pupils who do repeat - they merely do the same again which leads to further demotivation and little success. There are some primary schools that have adopted an automatic transfer system from grade to grade. The Ministry of Education is embarking upon a policy to reduce repetition to zero as soon as the Learning Support Secretariat becomes functional and the CEE is phased out.
At the end of the Grade 6 pupils sit the Common Entrance Examinations (CEE) in order to be selected for secondary education. The number selected are predetermined by the Ministry of Education in relation to the number of places available in Forms 1 in the secondary schools. A number of scholarships and bursaries are given to deserving pupils. It is now a government stated objective to do away with this selective examination by 2003 as universal secondary education comes on stream.
Transition rates to the secondary level are now among the highest in the Caribbean with over 60% of the 12 to 16 age group registered at the secondary level. This improved situation over the 1990 figure (30%) continues to reflect the constraints in the supply of places rather than demand. The Government has been rapidly expanding access to secondary by making use of the existing surplus capacity in secondary and by the construction of new secondary schools. Of the age cohort taking the Common Entrance Examination (CEE), less than 40% are able to obtain a place in the secondary system. The remainder complete their schooling in "all-age" primary schools, enrolled in the Junior Secondary Programme, a three year programme developed especially for this target group.
The Junior Secondary Programme (JSP) is followed by the pupils who failed to be selected by the CEE. This three year programme is done in selected JSP centres over a period of three years at the end of which some are able to continue in Form III of the secondary schools (at their discretion). The others join the labour market. Originally, the JSP was designed to be a five year programme of TVE up to the CXC level, and to feed the Community College (Technical Division).
This programme, however, has now lost its way and eventually will be phased out by 2001. It is still tied to the upper divisions of the all-age primary schools. The JSP do not share the same curriculum, quality of staff, resources, institutional standards and status as their counterparts in the junior divisions of the traditional secondary schools. In fact, students attending the JSP schools do not see themselves as sharing the same academic and social status as their counterparts in the traditional schools.
Literacy and numeracy levels are considered to be low, but in the absence of empirical evidence to substantiate this, there is an urgent need to conduct National Testing starting with grade 2. The Inception Report (1995) for the BERP (Basic Education Reform Project) suggest that pupil scores at the CEE indicate low overall achievement levels and that CEE scores as recently as 1999 also indicate wide disparities in achievement between districts. A recent review of CEE scores reveals that girls are outperforming boys in all subjects of the CEE and that the percentage of boys passing the CEE is significantly and consistently below that of girls, indicating a high level of male underachievement a factor which needs to be seriously addressed (Thomas. V, 1999, Testing and Measurement Unit, 1999).
An analysis of the CEE results and the award of scholarships/bursaries reveal a sequence of inequities which starts in the primary schools, continues in the secondary sector and into the CDCC (Clifton Dupigny Community College. There are a group of schools from which pupils consistently perform less well at CEE. These schools have the fewest trained teachers and are in one of the poorest parts of the country. They gain very few scholarships or bursaries to secondary schools. Conversely, there are a group of schools who consistently outperform the others. These are situated in the Roseau District (EPU, 1999, Testing and Measurement Unit, 1999).
In 1998, for example, the data indicates that 177 out of 188 awards were made to pupils from just 6 schools, of which 5 are in the Roseau District. These 5 schools obtained 84.6% of all the awards. While these awards are considered prestigious, they also carry a grant for books, transportation and free CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) registration and entry for examinations. The majority of the award holders attend 3 Roseau secondary schools (CHS, SMA, DGS) which consistently achieve the highest CXC results. Students from these three schools obtain most of the places in the Academic Division of the CDCC. The perceived success by parents of the schools in the Roseau area is exacerbating the problem of over-enrolment in some popular schools while leading to further reduction in student population in others. It is hoped that with introduction of Universal Secondary Education in 2003 and a greater level of equitable resource allocation the problem will be lessened.
Most Dominican classrooms are teacher-centred and can be summarised as follows:
whole class instructional teaching using the chalkboard and textbooks.
classes streamed by reading ability at an early age. This is seen as the main way in which to provide learning support.
a complete lack of differentiation within classes.
lack of celebration of pupil achievement through display of work.
a lack of stimulus within the learning environment.
a theoretical approach to learning even in practical subjects such as food and nutrition.
The main purpose of primary education appears to be to gain access to a secondary school by being successful at the CEE with a consequent focus of attention on children deemed to be of higher ability, partly through the provision of extra afternoon classes for which parents are asked to pay fees in some instances, leading to a further inequity for pupils who have to travel a long distance to school or whose parents are unable to pay.
In keeping with its election promise, the UWP government has started since 1997, a policy of providing books to primary schools in core subjects with parents paying a nominal rental fee. Science and Mathematics equipment and materials for Social Studies is being addressed for 50 schools by provision of kits via the BERP (Basic Education Reform Project).
The incumbent Government has indicated that a decision will soon be taken to introduce IT (Information Technology) in all sub-sectors as part of a 10 year plan. This is in keeping with a pre-1995 election promise to "implement widespread computer technology throughout the school system in order to prepare our children for the challenges of the 21st Century and to ensure that they can compete globally".
The level of community involvement in schools varies widely. The 1997 Education Act makes provision for the Minister to "if he deems it necessary, (to) appoint a Board of Management for any primary school where it appears to him to be desirable to do so in the interest of economy, efficiency and for the participation of the community in the management of education". However, for most, if not all schools, current participation is limited to the Parent Teachers Association. The levels of activities of the PTAs varies from being virtually dormant, to solely fund raising and exerting political pressure to active involvement in school planning and decision-making about teaching and learning issues. All PTAs are heavily feminised in that the vast majority of active PTA members are females.
Expenditure on The financing of education is mainly undertaken by the state at all levels of education. Basic Education (all of primary and the first three years of secondary) consumes the greatest share of the recurrent budget (51.7%), secondary 24.8%, tertiary 7%, UWI 5%, according to table 2 on Changes in Allocation Patterns of Educational Expenditure by Levels of Education and Programmes, 1985-1999.
The Table 8(b) on Public Expenditure on Primary Education indicates that primary education as a percentage of GNP ranges between 3.06% and 3.07% for the period under review and 15.3% to 17.39% of public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as a percentage of GNP per capita. This is based on public current expenditure on primary education per pupil ranging from EC $932.79 to EC $1 484.09 for the same period.
Given the expansion of post-primary education in recent years, the relative allocation of primary expenditure has fallen. This is partly due to a falling primary population and the rapid expansion of secondary. Cosequently, the public expenditure on primary education as a percentage of total public expenditure on education has declined from 62.75% in 1990/91 to 43.16% in1998/99. The cost per pupil moved from $932.79 to $1484.09 for the period under review, thus increasing the financial burden on the state.
Table 8(b) Indicators of Public Expenditure on Primary Education, EC$
Education Planning Unit, 1999
Special Needs Education
The 1997 Education Act states in section 81, (1) "The Chief Education Officer is responsible for providing special education programmes for students of compulsory school age who by virtue of intellectual, communicative, behavioural, physical or multiple exceptionalities are in need of special education. (2) A student who is entitled to a special education programme shall have the programme delivered in the least restrictive and most enabling environment...."
Currently, children with special needs are catered for by the School for the Hearing Impaired (SHI) and by the Alpha Centre (AC).
The SHI had 27 students in 1996/97 consisting of 14 boys and 13 females. This total went down slightly in the following school year to 24 pupils with equal numbers of boys and girls. In both years, the numbers of teachers on the staff remained unchanged at 5 with only 2 (40%)of them with some form of training. The recurrent expenditure on the SHI was EC$146 750 in 1996/97 which represented 0.44 of 1% of the total spent on education in general. This amount went up to EC$178 540 in 1997/98, a mere 0.50% of 1% of the recurrent education budget.
The AC on the other hand caters for 31 pupils with mental disabilities on a daily basis. There are four classes with four teachers, a US Peace Corps helper and one or two volunteers. The centre was established in 1974 by the Catholics. In 1996, the centre moved to a new building funded by varied sources. The centre is run by a private non-profit organisation, the Dominica Association for the mentally Handicapped with some assistance from the Ministry of Education. The salaries are paid through the Associations fund-raising efforts. The Ministry of Education has provided one trained teacher and a subvention of EC$1 000 towards the salary of another teacher. The principal/co-ordinator has given up half of her salary so that the centre can pay for much needed administrative support and she teaches part-time in another school to support herself. The centre continues to struggle in order to survive.
The principal emphasis of the AC is on educating each child to their maximum potential so that they may be able to function independently in society to the highest possible level. This frees the parents to be able to work and make their contribution to society. The work of the centre is based on the understanding that the children are capable of learning and that they also have a right to an education.
The centre also runs an early intervention programme. An element of this is a pre-school programme held twice a week by the Community Service Workers to which young children attend with a parent. during these sessions the children learn to socialise, play and learn the early pre-reading/writing skills. Parents learn how to manage their childrens behaviour and how to help them to learn. They also learn how to toilet train and help their children begin to develop independent personal management skills. From the parents perspective they get to meet other parents with similar problems thus reducing their sense of isolation and hopelessness, and to develop an understanding of the potential of their child.
The centre also has a Community Service Programme. two Community Service Workers visit children in their homes or in schools, to support and provide some teaching/training for the children, their parents and teachers. However, these workers have no transport and have to rely on hitching lifts. Consequently, their visits to some parts of the island are infrequent (once every 4 to 5 months) and there are some parts of the country that they have not yet visited at all. Both workers are women and now they are more cautious about hitching lifts since there have recently been two incidents in which their personal safety has been threatened.
So far, the AC and its outreach programme has been able to assist a total of 156 children in some form. However, 57 of these children with whom they have some, often limited contact, are of school age, capable of learning at school but do not have access. Many of them have a physical disability and would need to be transported, while others have been excluded from school because the already busy and overworked teachers are unable to manage their behaviour and therefore as a result these children are unable to get to the AC. These children are the ones known to the Community Service Workers. Given that these workers have not yet been able to reach the whole of the country, it is logical to conclude that there are many others who are unknown. The known children with no access to school are based in the following places:
Table not available
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
This is provided in fifteen schools with the main objective of preparing students for the successful completion of the CXC Examinations at General and Basic proficiency levels. Four of the schools are single sex: one male, three female and ten co-educational. Prior to 1970, the country had four secondary schools: three private and denominational and one publicly owned. In 1968 the total enrolment for all schools was 1262 and there were 90 teachers (Dominica, 1969).
During the 1980s and early in the 1990s, more schools were established. Today, more than 5 461 students are enrolled in the countrys fifteen secondary schools. Six of these schools are now publicly owned, the rest being owned and controlled to a very large extent by the religious bodies which played a historically significant role in the development of this sector. Today, the nine non-state schools account for about 50% of the total secondary school population (See Table 9a).
Nine secondary schools are located in the two main urban areas of Roseau and Portsmouth. The heavy concentration of seven schools in the capital area - Roseau - continues to present a problem for parents in the feeder schools especially in the south- eastern and mid-eastern areas of the island.
The secondary school system is divided into two cycles, a junior division for students normally between the ages of 12 and 14 and enrolled in forms 1 - 3, and a senior division of secondary education for students above the age of 14 in forms 4 - 5.
To enter secondary schools, all students are required to sit the CEE, usually at the end of grade 7 and at eleven years. Students are streamed, pre-selected and coached for the exam years before its is written.
Table 9(a): Enrolment of students and No. Teachers at Public, Assisted and Private Secondary Schools. (not available)
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1998
The transition rates are now among the highest in the West Indies. Who gets into secondary schools is another concern for the Ministry of Education. Henry (1994) suggests that accessing a secondary education may also be a factor of geographic proximity to these schools, since there may be tremendous costs and time to attend some schools, due to their geographic location. Costs and time not withstanding, there is also another major concern relating to geographic location and access to secondary education. In 1994 for example, only 9 students (or 11%) from the Carib Territory entered secondary schools. In 1999, this figure has more than trippled, but nationally the percentage participation is still low. The schools in that geographic location are terrible deficient in critical factors which contribute to students success.
Unsuccessful CEE students continue to enrol in the countrys Junior Secondary programme of the all-age primary schools may have a second opportunity to compete for limited placement in the secondary schools through the Junior Secondary programme Examination (JSPE). Successful JSPE candidates are placed in available spaces at the form 3 level of the secondary schools, one year behind their age cohort successful on the CEE.
In 1998/99 there were close to 5 772 students registered in 15 secondary schools. The overall shortfall in places is a considerable constraint to access, despite an additional 735 places to be provided by 2000 under the on-going Basic Education Reform Project.
The quality of output, as measured by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) results, varies considerably from school to school and is reflected by variation in unit costs. There is a high percentage of untrained teachers in the secondary system, which was 60 % in 1997/98.
Other weaknesses in the system relate to inequity in the distribution of school places, and signs of comparatively low performance in males from the level of CEE and above. Additionally, years of relative neglect of the indigenous Carib people who occupy the Carib Territory has led to high levels of poverty and illiteracy among that segment of the population.
The only achievement data currently available is from the CXC examination results. For example, the achievement results show a fluctuating but improving achievement levels for those taking the exams. The results for 1998 are difficult to compare because of a change in CXC policy regarding pass grades. Throughout the period from 1994 to 1998 girls have consistently and significantly outscored boys thus reflecting the position at the earlier CEE. The position regarding Maths shows a much lower pass rate, the best year being in 1996 with a pass rate of 36.9% of those entered. In this subject, the gender difference is small and fluctuates from year to year.
Achievement levels at CXC vary from year to year and vary considerably from school to school with the Convent High, Dominica Grammar School and the St. Marys Academy consistently achieving higher results in English and Mathematics than other schools. It should be noted , however, that these schools take almost all the pupils with scholarships and bursaries, i.e. almost 90% of the total. There is also a knock-on effect to the intake of The Academic Division of the CDCC which recruits nearly all students from these three schools. This state of affairs highlights the problem of equity.
However, the most significant feature of the result is with the percentage of the total cohorts of 16 year olds who take and pass the exam. For example, in 1997 - the most successful year, there were 343 English passes and 143 Maths passes out of a cohort of approximately 1 925 who started school 12 years earlier. This equates to just 17% passing English and 7.4% passing Maths. This suggests massive underachievement in a sector which is focussed exclusively on CXC performance as a major measure of success, and suggests the need for a radical reform of the curriculum, teaching and learning strategies.
Underachievement is seen in terms of students not mastering the minimum levels of learning as prescribed by the schools. This translates into high levels of repetition and dropout especially at the entry level (first year), third and fourth years of secondary schooling. See tables 9(b) to d 9(d).
In absolute terms the numbers of repeaters have risen 2.3 times (230.6%) and the repetition rate by 1.37 times (37.5%) over the period 1989-1999. Relative male underachievement is clearly observable compared to the base year. The number of dropouts have risen 1.38 times (38.5%) over the same period. Again the boys are the worst affected.
Table 9(b): Repetition in Secondary Schools by Form
Education Planning Unit, 1999
Table 9(c): Repetition at Secondary by Gender
Education planning Unit, 1999
Table 9(d): Secondary Schools Dropout and Dropout Rates
Education Planning Unit, 1999
In relation to the performance at CXC in the years 1991 to 1997, a comparison with other countries in the Caribbean shows that Dominica is placed 8th out of 17 for English and 10th out of 17 for Maths (OECS Report, 1998).
For the 1999/2000 school year, the Ministry of Education expects to expand the capacity of its Public Secondary Schools as follows:
1.13 new classrooms and a science laboratory for Portsmouth Secondary School. The plans, however, call for the demolition of 7 existing classrooms in the process at a time when school space is already at a premium and school-age children have limited access. The real growth is only 6 classrooms.
2.The construction and furnishing of a new 525 place secondary school in Castle Bruce.
3.The replacement of the Grand Bay Secondary School with accommodation for 600 students.
As table 10(a) and 10(b) indicates, the number of students in this cycle is steadily increasing as the government continues to keep its promise to expand access to all by the year 2003, finally culminating in universal secondary education. Table 11 indicates that Dominica enjoys a very juditious pupil-teacher ratio when compared to a select group of countries. However, this favourable ratio has not translated in any discernible improvement in quality.
The pupil-teacher ratio indicates that the growth in the number of teachers is more than proportionate to student growth and that the allocation of scarce resources needs to be more efficient. The aim is to attain a ratio of 1:25 by the year 2005.
Table 10(a): Secondary School Enrolment (not available
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
Table 10(b): Secondary Schools Enrolment by Type and Gender, 1998-1999 (not available)
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
The table above indicates that the state is the largest provider of secondary education in terms of student placements and teachers (53.58% and 52.74% respectively). This is translated in terms of Government policy of providing more access to secondary education until universal education is achieved in 2003/4. This means more resources would have to be invested in the sector in order for this to be achievable. In 1998/99 school year the transition rate from primary to secondary was 3:5, i. e. 60%.
Table 11: Comparative Pupil-Teacher Ratios of Selected Countries (not available)
Source: UNESCO Statistical Year book, 1993
The Common Entrance Examination is used as a selective mechanism for access to secondary education and is therefore, politically manipulable as can be seen by the states policy of increasing access since 1995 (See table 12) by defining the supply of places to be made available. More girls are being selected, a trend observed worldwide where girls have equal academic and socio-economic opportunities as boys .
Table 12: Common Entrance Examination Results (not available)
Source: Ministry of Education
Since 1986, Female teachers have outnumbered their male counterparts in the secondary sector. See table 13.
Table 13: Secondary School Staff by Gender
Education Planning Unit, 1999
The percentage of trained teachers at this level is alarmingly low. Only 50% of all teachers are graduates. Most teachers are holders of A and OLevels. There is no policy of continuous training for secondary teachers. Some limited training is offered both at home and abroad. Given the huge shortage and the corresponding costs to government budgets, it is not yet official policy to employ only graduates of degree status to staff the secondary schools. These act as constraints to the development of the teacher in quality terms.
It is the states policy to professionalise the secondary teachers training force by 2005 with the teachers holding professional qualifications. Efforts are currently underway to upgrade the qualifications of secondary school teachers at the DTTC (Teachers College) for an Associate Degree. The first batch of 37 As. Deg. trainees will graduate in 2001. This programme is being funded by the U. K. DFID. In addition, an OECS/EDF/UWI Project to train secondary teachers using a school based approach is being considered.
The expenditure on secondary represented 42.10% of educational expenditure in 1998/99. In absolute terms the current expenditure has increased from EC$4.6 million in 1990 to 9.4 million in 1998. This means that the percentage share of the GNP has increased from 1.07% to 1.46% in the period under review. See table 14.1 below.
Table 14.1 Indicators of Public Expenditure on Secondary Education
The cost per pupil increased from EC$1466.90 in 1990/91 to EC$1641.15 in 1998/99. This represented per pupil as a percentage of GNP per capita a decrease from24.07% to 19.23% for the period under review.
Post Secondary and Tertiary Education
At the end of Form 5, students normally sit CXC or GCE examinations. Students who perform well (passes in five or more courses) on those exams and qualify for entry into post-secondary institutions have four options. They may enrol at: a) the Clifton Dupigny Community College (CDCC) to pursue courses in crafts, technical subjects and A Level courses and from September 1999 additional courses in hospitality and tourism will be added, b) the Teachers Training College to pursue UWI-based courses for the Teachers Certificate for the primary and secondary sectors as well as Associate Degree programmes for secondary school teachers, c) the Princess Margaret Hospital School of Nursing, and d) overseas post-secondary institutions, including the University of the West Indies. In a), b) and c) the courses are normally of two years duration.
A Tertiary Education Task Force was appointed by the Minister of Education in February 1991. It was required to:
determine the goals and objectives of the CDCC
examine the issues associated with the proposed restructuring of CDCC
advised on the restructuring
proposed a management structure, following the guidelines presented in the Draft Education Sector Plan ( Lockhart. A, 1989).
The report of the Task Force recommended the amalgamation of the CDCC with The Teachers College and the Princess Margaret Hospital School of Nursing, with a level of autonomy under a Board of Govenors. The report included draft legislation for the institution and duties and responsibilities of the Board of govenors.
It is important that any development plan for the tertiary level institutions provides a range of programmes which are attractive to females and males. In addition, the Colleges might consider taking positive action to encourage previously under-represented groups in certain subject areas to apply for places on those courses, thereby opening up access to a wider range of curriculum options and a greater freedom of choice over career paths and types of work.
The Clifton Dupigny Community College (CDCC)
The CDCC was created in 1983 by merging the Sixth Form College and the Clifton Dupigny Technical College. They were renamed the Academic Studies Division and the Technical Studies Division.
Enrolment statistics at the Tertiary level show gender-stereotypical patterns of curriculum participation. In 1997/98 the percentage of females enrolled at The Technical Division of the Clifton Dupigny Community College (CDCC) was 20%, whist the Academic Division enrolment was over 70% (Table 14.2). Given the rapid increase in student numbers the existing facilities are now overburdened and even the new Academic Studies Divisions facility at the Stock Farm is already too small to accommodate this rise. Annual intake at the CDCC is approximately 225, compared to an annual output exceeding 700 from the secondary school system as a whole.
The Academic Studies Division:
The Division offers two programmes - the Academic Programme leading to the Cambridge A levels, and the Secretarial Programme for the Private Secretarys Certificate with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Academic Programme includes Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, Geography, Accounts, Economics, Sociology, History, Spanish, French and General Paper (Use of English).
Table 14: Tertiary Enrolment, 1998/99 (not available)
Source: Education Planning Unit, 1999
Enrolment to the Sixth Form Programme has risen steadily from 209 in 1990 to 460 in 1998. The secretarial intake has remained at between 31 and 44 except in 1988 when it jumped to 74 from 43 in 1997. Expansion of the programme is planned with the move to the new facilities at Stock Farm.
Percentage passes in the GCE examinations during the past three years have been 81%, 83% and 80%.
During the period the female population of the College has increased by 227.7% while that of the male has increased by 69.4%.
The overall repetition rate for the Division for 1997/98 was 9% (23 students) with females at 11.3% and males at 6.7%. Drop out rates for males was 16% for males and 18.9% for females.
For the Academic programme there were 15 full time teaching staff, excluding the Director in 1997/98 and 9 part-time staff. For the Secretarial programme there were 2 full time and 2 part time staff. The division operates as a sixth form college, but the appropriateness of some of the courses - so far as the job market is concerned - needs to be considered.
Class sizes are two high, and the physical facilities are poor. The equipment for the secretarial programme is inadequate in number and in quality, and there is no library. Natural Science Laboratory facilities are non existent creating the need to use those at the DGS which are themselves inadequate. Enrolment at CDCC has averaged over 650 over the last three years, with 68% of students registered in the Academic Division.
Technical Studies Division:
The Division offers full time two-year diploma courses and one and two-year certificate courses. The Diploma Courses prepare students for technician level employment and/or higher education, and the Certificate Programmes prepare students for entry level employment and /or further education. These courses lead to City and Guilds of London awards. The Technical wing offers Engineering, Building and Technical Trades.
There are 10 instructors in the Division, one of which has a Masters Degree, one a Bachelors Degree. Six have Diploma level qualifications, one Certificate level and one A Level.
All courses are over-subscribed, with many more applying for the courses than can be accommodated even with utilising space designed for a maximum of 20 trainees for over 30. The present gender ratio is 4:1 in favour of males, but the directors target is to maintain a minimum of 20% females in all full time programmes.
The main issues which need to be resolved are as follows:
Government cannot afford to develop the CDCC and run it on a day to day basis. Donor support with training, renovation of buildings and provision of equipment for new courses and to replace the very old and outdated equipment will not solve the problems. The ongoing need for skills upgrading of staff, the introduction of new techniques, the necessary provision of budgets for materials and accessories would be a heavy drain on government. The appointment of a Board of governors as the Task Force Report recommends with powers to generate income and use that income for the benefit of CDCC is vital, as is the selection of a high calibre and experienced Principal with the vision to carry the institution forward, as an integrated unit where all staff have equal status.
The social factors in relation to pre-vocational education and training appear to be the same in Dominica as in many other countries. There does not seem to be consensus on what should be done at the school level to ensure the emergence of a well rounded individual after school. There does, however, seem to be some agreement that whatever pre-vocational education and training means, it must be seen as part of a general education system open to all students, and with no stigma attached to some subjects.
What is lacking is a policy on how to go about producing the result that is generally considered to be desirable, without knowing exactly what that result is. Until there is more clarification, the issue of curriculum development cannot be tackled with certainty.
The Dominica Teachers Training College (DTTC)
Teacher training at the Dominica Teachers Training College is a two-year, full-time programme leading to certification accredited by UWI, and has been available mainly for the primary education sector for nearly 25 years. Despite the number of years of DTTCs existence, and an annual output of about 30 graduates, the proportion of untrained teachers in the system is of great concern. Efforts are currently underway to introduce reforms that would assist in improving the quality of graduates emerging from this system. Low retention rates in the teaching service can be attributed largely to factors outside the control of MOE, such as comparative salary levels and conditions of service.
A study was done in 1998 on the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Teaching Service in Dominica which looked at the effectiveness, composition, training, qualifications, experience, distribution, recruitment, retention and attrition of the teaching force (Burton-James. A, 1998). The study highlighted the following salient features:
In the 1996 Education Strategy Letter, the government has stated that from 1997 no teacher will be recruited unless they have the minimum qualifications of 4 CXC passes, or equivalent, in core subject areas. Further secondary recruits will be required to have an A level pass in the subject area of specialism. The College does not appear to be maximising the use of its human resource component as seen in the too favourable pupil-teacher ratios and staff workload (Morrissey. M, 1998).
Out of the 28 students enrolled in the teacher training program at the DTTC this year (1999), only four are male. This continues to be a vexing problem as male teachers are under-represented in the school system and will certainly have serious consequences on the learning of boys (Thomas. V, 1999).
It is important that any development plan for the college(s) provides a range of programmes which are attractive to both gender. In addition, the college might consider taking positive action to encourage previously under-represented groups in certain subject areas to apply for places on those courses, thereby opening up access to a wider range of curriculum options and a greater freedom of choice over career paths and types of work.
Plans are in place to implement the amalgamation of the DTTC and the CDCC by September 2000. The PMH School of Nursing will become part of this merger at a later date. This new institution will be semi-autonmous with its own board of governors who will be responsible to the Minister of Education.
For tertiary education, public current expenditure increased from EC$1.4 million in 1990 to EC$2.7 million in 1998 , an increase of 92.8%. As a proportion of current educational expenditure it represents a mere 7%. This expenditure represents 0.32% of GNP in 1990 and 0.41% in 1998. The cost per student has increased from EC$3 008.56 in 1990 to EC$3 566.53 in 1998. The expenditure on tertiary education per pupil, as a percentage of GNP per capita moved from 49.37% in 1990/91 to41.8% in 1998/99. The expenditure on tertiary as a percentage of total public expenditure on edcation fluctuated between 6.25% and 7.07% for the period under review, a slight increase. See table 15.
Table 15. Indicators of Public Expenditure on Tertiary Education, EC$
UWI School of Continuing Education
UWI offers a number of part-time programme by distance education leading to the Certificate in Public Administration, Certificate in Business Administration and Certificate in Education. In addition, students are assisted in preparing for year I examinations for first degrees in the Social Sciences and Law. UWI has been offering a Distance Education Programme, partly financed by CDB, which has significantly increased the range of UWI programmes to Dominicans.
Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University School of Medicine is an off-shore North American insttution established in 1978 in the second town of Portsmouth, originally for providing training in health Sciences. Over 4 000 students have since passed through its programmes and are now licensed and practicing physicians, or in residency programmes in the U.S.A.. Current enrolment is over 1 500 (1999). A limited number of scholarships have also been made available to Dominican nationals over the years.
Educational Developments: Projects and Plans
1. The Basic Education Reform Project (BERP)
The BERP responds to a request from the government of Dominica to assist it in initiating a reform of its education system in 1995-2005. The project has the overall objective of accelerating human resource development to ensure that the requisite manpower exists to attain the desired economic transition in Dominica. It supports the first stage of a major reform of basic education, aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the education system, and at enhancing equity of access to educational opportunities. Thus, the project would:-
(a) strengthen the planning and institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education
(MOE), to guide and carry out the long - term development of the sector, while enabling it to initiate significant, urgent measures to address system - wide qualitative problems and expansion needs at the secondary level, and
(b)serve as a catalyst for a major adjustment process, focused on revision to more
reasonable levels of primary and secondary teacher to student ratios, in line
with ratios of countries of comparable economic and social development.
Such adjustment is critical to ensure that the relatively high levels of resource allocations to public education respond more effectively to current and projected needs, including increased financing for system management, institutional equipment and supplies, school facilities and equipment maintenance - areas which are now significantly under - financed. The planned adjustment is crucial to ensure the financial sustainability of the reform.
The project comprises of three major components:
(a)A Strengthening Management and Planing Component would help to:
(i)reorganise the management of the school system, upgrade staff, and improve co-ordination among key MOE operating units;
(ii)uild planning capacity and analysis and formulate a long-term sector development plan;
(iii)initiate development of an integrated education data system to facilitate sector analysis, administration and management, and policy-making;
(iv)establish a permanent project development and management capacity within MOE, and;
(v)finance special studies to assist in formulating future policies and program developments.
(b)A Qualitative Improvement of Basic Education Component would enhance
the quality of teaching and learning, through:
(i) upgrading basic teacher training and revising and intensifying in-service training for all teachers (with special attention to science, mathematics, social studies and language arts) and, concurrently, ensuring their more appropriate utilisation and job satisfaction through improved personnel supervision, management, and career development ;
(ii) formulating and adopting improved curricula (especially in core subjects);
(iii) establishing an educational testing and measurement capacity to monitor student and system performance;
(iv) identifying and instituting more cost-effective methods of selection, production; procurement and distribution of educational materials
for the most disadvantaged schools (to include those serving the Carib territory). Further, this component would help strengthen the School
Library Service (SLS) by intensifying its activities in the northern area of Dominica.
(c) An Expansion and Conservation of school Places Component would assist MOE to:
provide more secondary school places in the most underserved districts; to reduce long distance travel and facilitate access to educational opportunities. This component would also provide for the rehabilitation of selected primary and secondary schools and support a new approach to systematic preventive maintenance and replacement of existing school plant.
The generally poor quality of primary education constrains many students from fully benefiting from a secondary education program, even when it is available to them. Hence, along with expanding access to secondary schools, thus increasing educational opportunities, the BERP assigns high priority to improving the quality of primary education, particularly in the core subject areas. This component, encompassing improvement of major educational inputs - teachers, curricula, educational materials, testing and measurement, and supervision - is expected to lead to significant improvements in educational outcome in terms of learning and student achievement.
As part of the Governments effort to professionalize the teaching service, the TTC would require all new entrants into the two year diploma training program to have at least four GCE "O" Level or CXC equivalent passes including English, Mathematics, a Social Studies subject and a Science subject. Moreover, by the year 2000, all teachers in the primary schools who have not secured the prescribed entry requirements would be reassigned either to other suitable public service jobs or, if they have demonstrated special ability to work with young children, to the pre-school system. The total cost of the project is over US $ 7 940 000.
2. Secondary Education Support Project (SESP)
A project for secondary education, called the Secondary Education Support Project is currently being developed in the south, centred around the Grand Bay Secondary school. This has implication for the rest of the secondary sub-sector and has subsequently, therefore, been expanded to cater for the secondary teachers training needs of the sub-sector. The SESP is being funded jointly by the U. K. DFID (Caribbean Division) and the GOCD.
Access in the south of the country will be substantially increased by the completion of the DFID funded Grand Bay Secondary School to be opened in September 1999. This school is expected to have a school board as a model for the other public secondary schools.
It is stated GOCD policy to professionalise the secondary teacher training force by 20005 with the majority of teachers holding professional qualifications. Considerable efforts are being made via the SESP to upgrade the qualifications of 37 secondary teachers who have registered at the DTC (Teachers College) in 1998 for an Associated Degree which will be accredited by The University of the West Indies (UWI). In-service training is to be provided for 50 teachers in the new curriculum as well as training in management for all principals.
There is an urgent need however, for further curriculum development within the secondary sector to devise and resource a curriculum which will be appropriate to all students as the junior secondary programme is phased out and universal access to secondary education is achieved. It is hoped that the project be extended to undertake curriculum development for Forms 4 and 5 along the lines of the ROSE project in Jamaica.
3. OECS / HRD Project
Under this project the construction of the Academic Division of the Clifton Dupigny Community was completed and the students will occupy the building in September 1999. Given the rising numbers in the tertiary sector there is the problem of adequacy of space.
4. OECS/UWI/DFID Teacher Training Project
Under this project 4 trainers will be trained over an agreed period. Also, an induction course will be delivered for untrained teachers as well as 2 batches of 25 teachers per year will be trained by part-time for 120 hours. A 110 hours professional development programme will be given to 50 principals and senior teachers. The project is on schedule and will commence before September 1999.
5. Northern Education Project
This project is funded by STABEX 1995/6/GOCD and will deliver a new facility for the St. Andrews High School as it is relocated to give way to the construction of an international airport at the present site. The project will also construct a Hospitality Training Centre, provide overseas training for 4 in technical-vocational education and training (TVET) as well as the provision of local distance learning degree for 8.
6. STABEX 1996/7
This will fund principally TVET and human resource development (HRD) through a grant allocation of 3.9 Million Euros.
7. Long Term Education Development Plan: 1999 - 2005 and beyond
This is the first major undertaking of the Education Planning Unit of the Division of Education. The Education Development Plan provides a vision and direction for the education sector in Dominica for the next six (6) years as well as identifying steps to continue and sustain development up to the year 2010. The primary purpose is to raise levels of student achievement while recognising that through the implementation of the plan the education system will also contribute to national and regional socio-economic development.
The plan covers the whole of the education sector from pre-school through tertiary, including technical and vocational education and training, and lifelong education. It takes into account the regional and national context of education and the management and administrative capability to deliver it.
The vision is "High quality education for all". This recognises the right of all to be able to gain access to education, and the need to provide high quality teaching and learning in schools and colleges which are managed and resourced efficiently by teams of well trained staff at all levels.
The intended product of the plan will be students who are characterised as being literate, numerate and computer competent; skilled in science and technology; self confident and equipped with personal and interpersonal skills; valuing diversity and by having a positive work ethic enabling them to contribute to their local and wider community; and be healthy and appreciative of their environment and natural heritage.
The plan sets out a series of priorities for both the Ministry of Education and individual components of the whole sector. It informs these by setting realistic targets, establishing tasks to be undertaken, and providing success criteria, monitoring procedures and costing and financing framework.
The key priorities include:
The plan has been costed and subject to the success of the readjustments and programmes proposed in the Strategy Paper, the costs should be readily borne, the total being significantly less than 20% of the revenue budget of the Government. It also includes the contribution which may be made by external funding sources including, especially, the STABEX Tertiary Education Support Project. The policy framework within the plan has been arrived at through widespread discussions and consultations with stakeholders.
Primary schools follow a curriculum which has recently been reviewed by the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU). Schools have been provided with curriculum guides for English Language, Mathematics and General Science for Grades K to 6. A curriculum and guide for Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and English Language will become available in September 1999 for K to Grade 6. A curriculum and guide for Social Studies has been prepared for Form 1 at the secondary level.
Workbooks for Grades k to 3 for English will be available from September 1999. In addition a curriculum and guide for Health and Family Life covering primary and secondary age ranges is being monitored and supported in schools. A draft national policy for this was presented to Cabinet in August 1998 but has not yet been officially approved.
The CDU has planned to review Music, PE, Art and Craft, and Agriculture in 2001 as well as to start writing and production of support materials for pupils and teachers.
The revised primary schools curriculum appears to be appropriate at the national level. the main problem appears to be in its delivery. The main need at the primary level for curriculum development is in relation to adapting the teachers guides for multigrade teaching and provision of differentiated activities for all subjects and all classrooms.
Dominica does not have a National Curriculum and therefore, the curriculum de facto is determined by each school and in practice is closely related to the requirements of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) other external examinations and higher ability students. A balance need to be struck between the academic and practical skills education in the secondary sector in any future national curriculum.
The Ministry of Education has outlined the following process to arrive at the promulgation and implementation of the National Curriculum (NC):
The Secondary Education Support Project (SESP) has been working with the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) to write and pilot a revised curriculum for Forms 1 to 3 in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, incorporating activities for average and below average ability pupils. Drafts of curriculum guides for Form 1 have been completed and would be available to schools in September 1999. All the guides for the four core subjects would be available in 2001. The CDU also has plans to start work in Music, Art and Craft and Agriculture from 2001.
However, the major curriculum need resides in the consideration of a curriculum which will meet the needs of all students - academic, technical/vocational, aesthetic, spiritual, moral and for citizenship and fulfill the the ambitions set out in the 1997 Education Act. This would be especially so when Universal Secondary Education is achieved.
The Economy, Cost and Financing of Education
Basic Education (all of primary and the first three years of secondary) generally consumes the greatest share of the recurrent budget (51.7%), secondary 24.8%, tertiary 7%, UWI 5%, and others 11.5% according to the Table on Changes in Allocation Patterns of Educational Expenditure by Levels of Education and Programmes, 1985-1999 and the Tables on Indicators of Public Expenditure on Education.
The Table on Public Expenditure on Primary Education indicates that primary education as a percentage of G. N. P. ranges between 3.06% and 3.07% for the period under review and 15.3% to 17.39% as public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as a percentage of G. N. P. per capita. This is based on public current expenditure on primary education per pupil ranging from EC $932.79 to EC $1 484.09.
Given the expansion of post - primary education the relative allocation of primary expenditure has fallen. This is partly due to a falling primary population and rapid expansion of secondary. Cosequently, the public expenditure on primary education as a percentage of total public expenditure on education has declined from 62.75% in 1990/91 to 43.16% in1998/99.
The largest capital project ever (the international airport) in the history of Dominica is about to commence, yet, allowances are not made for effective cost recovery schemes in education. See Table D.
Tertiary Education and Cost Recovery
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