Monday, February 18, 2008

Reflections on Education in Dominica

Growing up in Dominica, I was taught that a good education was the means by which I could provide a better life for myself and for my future children.

This belief was instilled in me at a very early age, first by my mother, then by my teachers at primary school and high school, and finally by my professors at college.

A good education was defined as getting A’s and B’s in all of my courses with an emphasis on A’s. A better life was defined as having a husband and children and taking my rightful place as a caregiver in society.

See full article at Reflections on Education


At February 18, 2008 10:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This commment refers to the article written by L. JnoBaptiste.

Dear Sir,

I don't usually comment on articles on your website but after reading this one by Miss Jno-Baptipste I was totally disgusted. What is the point of her essay? Is she trying to say that her education in Dominica made her believe that she was an underachiever because of her race?

I went through the school system at approximately the same time as the author and my experience is not the same as hers.

Frankly, most of my history courses were about the Caribbean region. We read books by Caribbean authors, Lennox Honeychurch included. Fourth form and fifth form CXC history syllabus was purely focused on events that occurred in the Caribbean, Central & South America.

Any mention of Europe and North American was in direct relation to events in the Caribbean. My teacher at the time always promoted the Caribbean in her own explanations of events. I think unless you took history at A-levels, you were not exposed to much European or American history.

In early second form literature classes, we learnt about Henry the VIII and also read Caribbean Short Stories and Poems. Even our science classes referenced tropical species. We visited banana plantations to learn about harvesting in third forms,the veterinary quarters at the botanical gardens and the agricultural& weather stations around the island.

There was never one teacher that was not willing to answer a question or explain something again to a hardworking student. And I don't think that any teacher was ever discouraging to any student - perhaps unless the child was rude to the teacher and that teacher got fed up.

Furthermore, in terms of the religious figures that are ever present in Dominican society, my memories are that of both black & white priests? Did she forget about Father Moody, Thomas, Cuffy and others? Do you think of these priests would ever give a sermon relegating black people to the worst of society?

This essay is a poor portrayal of the Education System of Dominica at that time. Many young people in Dominica did not appreciate the system because they were not willing to work to keep up with the British standards. Once you've done your A-levels and passed, you are automatically accepted to most Universities, even gaining exemption from the first year at some.

My only criticism would be that perhaps we needed more choices in subject matter instead of streamlining persons into the business or science path. Things don't have to be so clear cut.

Some of our young people expect things to be easy. They want it all quickly with little effort. Some of the A's that they achieve aren't necessarily because they all became smart alecks in the USA. The system there is considerably easier. So there may be more "educated" people but the standard is lower.

In conclusion, I think Miss Jno-Baptiste should reflect more on how she spent her free time during her education system; how much effort did she really put into her work? One just can't write an essay referencing US sources about US racial inequalities, attribute them to a Caribbean country and then publish them on the WORLDWIDE web as a factual piece of work. There isn't any proper conclusion to that essay also.

Editor, our teachers who work for less than half of the US counterparts and put far more effort into their work deserve better recognition.


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