Contracts were signed at a small ceremony on Friday, October 9 2020 for the repair and refurbishment of the Morne Jaune Primary School and the Delices Primary School.
These repairs will be funded by the Government of Canada through the Caribbean Development Bank.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Mrs. Chandler Hyacinth says these projects are significant milestones for the ministry.
The Permanent Secretary says that one of the main lessons learnt from the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017, was the improvement of school infrastructure is a priority for the ministry.
“This signing ceremony is a significant milestone for us. It represents the ongoing collaboration between the Governments of Dominica and Canada and the Caribbean Development Bank, as we continue to build resilience in education. Since Hurricane Maria, we have learnt lessons on climate change events, and we in the Ministry of Education have been focusing on improving schools infrastructure as we work towards building back better, building resilience and improving capacity to make significant improvements in the teaching and learning environment for the nations' children,” Hyacinth stated.
Mrs. Hyacinth says the funding from the Government of Canada is at a total cost of over seven million us dollars and will cover the rehabilitation of five schools.
“The funding of this project was made possible through the Government of Canada administered by the Caribbean Development Bank. Five schools are to be rehabilitated. This project is costing over seven million US dollars and it has different components. We have five schools to be rehabilitated but it also includes training in basic TVET skills. We had training workshops for thirty-five contractors and suppliers, and this was one of our successful modules and it’s also aimed at funding an education sector plan for education in Dominica,” Hyacinth noted.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Honourable Octavia Alfred says the Government of Dominica continues to place emphasis on quality education for all citizens.
Minister Alfred says the refurbishment of these primary schools shows the government’s commitment to building back better.
“This present Government places a high emphasis on education, and not just education, but quality education for all. Quality education requires quality teachers, quality parents, quality students, but more so an environment conducive to learning. Therefore we thank the Government of Canada and the CDB for helping us to realize our vision. This Government is determined to rebuild better and stronger. We are committed to building with resilience as one of our watch words,” Minister Alfred stated.
The Education Minister then thanked residents and teachers for their patience, adding that the school will be built with inclusion in mind.
“I thank you, genuinely thank you for your patience, but I want to say our wait will be worth it. As we rebuild we keep inclusion at the forefront of our mind. We are not leaving out anybody especially those who are living with disabilities. So we are keeping inclusion at the front as well as Early Childhood Education,” Honourable Alfred added.
Parliamentary Representative for the La Plaine constituency, Honourable Kent Edwards says quality education requires conducive environments.
“This building has taken a battering from various elements including Hurricane Maria and Tropical Storm Erika, as well as the normal deprecation of a building that happens when it is being used. As a result of that, it has suffered and now the time has come for it to be repaired. Education is said to be the gateway out of poverty and for education to be well received, the ambiance, the atmosphere, the hygiene, the building, the aesthetics must be there to encourage proper learning by the students, and to encourage the teachers to teach,” Hon Edwards stated.
The La Plaine MP then called on the contractors to use the local skilled residents on the project.
“I am asking you the contractors to utilize some of our skilled residents in this area as part of your team. Because I know Delices and I know there are plenty skilled men and women in this area that we could use for any construction in Dominica. So I am asking you to utilize them and help with their employment opportunities in this area,” the La Plaine MP added.
Member of Parliament for the Grand Fond constituency, Honourable Gretta Roberts thanked the Government of Canada for their assistance.
“I want the people form the climate Resilience project and the Government of Canada that investing in any resilient building in Morne Jaune is a worthy investment, and I really want to offer thanks to the Government of Canada for granting the Government of Dominica this project,” Honourable Roberts added.