Students and teachers of the Morne Jaune Primary School and the Delices Primary school are now able to enjoy a more comfortable and modern teaching and learning space as the Government of Dominica handed over the two newly rehabilitated schools on Wednesday May 12 2022.
The schools benefitted from a significant upgrade under the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Project prepared in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and financed with support from the Government of Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Dominica.
Member of Parliament for the Morne Jaune Riviere Cyrique Constituency, Hon. Gretta Roberts expressed her thanks to the Government f Dominica for recognizing the need to rehabilitate the primary school which has withstood numerous natural disasters including Hurricane David and Hurricane Maria.
“We in the community of Morne Jaune owe a debt of gratitude to the Government of Dominica and to the Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit for making this all possible. As a government, we have always made the education of our citizens a priority, not only ensuring that our students are provided with educational opportunities but in creating teaching and learning environments such as these that help support and motivate students to nurture their passions and build connections between different learning experiences while working in collaboration with others,” Hon. Roberts stated.
Parliamentary Representative for the La Plaine Constituency, Hon. Kent Edwards noted that the rehabilitation of the Delices Primary School is evidence of Government’s commitment to the development of the constituency and the country by extension.
“Understandably, education is the bedrock of any country’s development and given the emphasis placed by this Government on this vital sector the evidence is clear. We bear witness to this as shown by this beautiful, functional rehabilitated building that will provide the ideal setting for our children’s learning, socialization and care. This celebration here today is a celebration for all, and importantly it is another of the many development pieces of infrastructure that this Government has delivered to the La Plaine Delices and Boetica Constituency,” Hon. Edwards stated.
Division Chief of the Social Sector Division of the Caribbean Development Bank, Mrs. Deidre Clarendon explained that a safe and comfortable facility will contribute to the output of both teachers and students.
“Educational outcomes are influenced by a number of factors, infrastructure being one of them. There is a growing body of evidence which shows that school facilities can have a profound impact on both teachers and student outcomes. School facilities affect teacher recruitment, commitment and effort. For students, school facilities affect health, behavior, the engagement and learning and provision of basic services such as nutrition for disadvantaged learners,” Mrs. Clarendon explained.
High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee stated that this school is the result of a pledge made by the Government of Canada following Hurricane Maria.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 Canada pledged a hundred million Canadian dollars towards reconstruction and resilience in the Caribbean which I am now happy to say has been fully disbursed. As part of this pledge Canada provided 9.25 million Canadian dollars to restore five primary schools and provide training on construction skills necessary for resilient construction; as well as to provide Dominica with coverage under the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility over a two year period,” Her Excellency noted.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Hon. Octavia Alfred stated the new schools are evidence of Government’s commitment to the growth and success of the country’s students.
“The opening of a newly rehabilitated schools is a good reason to celebrate as a school, as a community, as a ministry, as a Government and a country. The Ministry of Education upholds the philosophy that schools should be places where students acquire and develop knowledge, abilities and life skills in a healthy and safe environment which is inclusive and protective. Ensuring that all Dominican students are provided with safe spaces for learning is part of the Government of Dominica’s policy. The physical environment of our schools serve a most important function in ensuring that students thrive and succeed,” Hon. Alfred stated.
The Education Minister then outlined some of the work that was undertaken during the rehabilitation process.
“Restoration work done at the school costing 1.1 million dollars include the main classroom block containing four classrooms and the principal’s office, upper block containing one classroom and the library, block two washrooms, and new blocks to accommodate the cafeteria and auditorium. The new stimulating environment I believe will raise the expectations of parents and teachers and act as a powerful motivator for overall success,” the Education Minister added.
Senior Minister and Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Reginald Austrie stated that these structures are part of Government’s thrust towards building a climate resilient nation.
“We tackle the task of rebuilding our school structures with a determination, and I dare say, we have recorded great success in keeping with our thrust to build climate resilient nation and construct structures able to withstand the most severe weather events. We have ensured that school plants were rebuilt according to the stringent building codes and safety requirements. Our efforts to return our school system to normalcy and to build back better has not been an easy task,” Hon. Austrie stated.
He then thanked the Canadian and Government and the CDB for their assistance which has contributed to the rehabilitation of four primary schools on island noting that this assistance has contributed to the Government’s drive to address the needs of students and teachers.
“Through the interventions of the Canadian Government and the CDB, we have been able to reconstruct our facilities at Grand Bay, Marigot, Delices and Morne Jaune. It means that our children are now assured of a safer more wholesome environment, where effective teaching and learning can occur and where we can mold them into successful citizens. With the improvements made here, I am confident that we are successfully addressing the needs of all our children who will attend classes here,” the Senior Minister added.