Education in Dominica: The Fight for Accessibility
Education in Dominica is continuing to improve. The country is a part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which has contributed to the success of education. The OECS 2012-2021 Education Sector provided a plan for the education in Dominica and other countries and “recognizes the importance of improving education as a part of the solution to improving social and economic development in the region.”
However, there are challenges outlined in the OECS Education Sector plan. Inadequacies in access are greatest at the pre-primary and tertiary levels. Net enrollment at the pre-primary level for the region averages just over 66 percent. Fewer than 15 percent of graduates from secondary school are able to access higher education, while fewer than 10 percent of adults in the OECS have completed tertiary level education.
Inequality has become more obvious and there are increasing concerns that in some areas, the most disadvantaged economically and socially may not be enjoying the benefits of the education system. Gender disparities in performance are evident at all levels of the school system, and there is declining participation of males at the upper secondary and tertiary levels.
These challenges are obstacles that many countries face, including Dominica. However, education in Dominica has improved over the years. The World Bank data shows an improvement in the gross enrollment rate from 95 percent in 1986 to 116 percent in 2015. One reason for the rise in education enrollment is because of the Global Partnership for Education’s grant of $2 million in 2014.
The objectives of this grant have contributed to “quality learning standards, improvement of teacher practices, strengthening primary school leadership and accountability and initiated the strengthening of sector monitoring and evaluation capacity.” By continuing to focus on these areas, education in Dominica can continue its upward trend. Additional attention on making education accessible to all is another key part of addressing these issues.
– Ashley Howard