Sun's Spotlight on Education: New School Year Begins Soon
Education has never been as important as it is today and, as Dominica prepares for a new school year, keeping up with its trends and nuances is serious business.
Education is expensive; it takes up a huge chunk out of state resources and family budgets. It also requires a colossal investment of stakeholders' time and energy, so getting maximum value is essential.
At every level, from education policy makers to low-budget parents contemplating pre-school options, the higher the quality of information available to them, the better their decisions will be.
With this in mind, The Sun's special 'Back to School' 2016 supplement focuses on recent developments in local education and examines what well-placed insiders think about key issues.
The information age has been a wake-up call to education officials, educators and parents. Significant changes are taking place and are being embraced in every educational environment. The information in the supplement suggests that healthy communication is crucial and meaningful progress in education relies on positive and productive relations at all levels.
The supplement touches on controversial topics like corporal punishment in schools and the impact of children's increasing access to social media on the way they learn and behave.
Hopefully, the topics explored in this supplement would trigger a purposeful exchange of ideas and build up the momentum of the wheels of change in Dominica's education system.
Change is already upon us; we have to make sure that it is as positive as we can make it. This means we have to set new benchmarks to prepare students for an ever-changing workplace.
In a modern, highly competitive society education must change to suit the temper of the times and put mechanisms in place to teach students what they really should learn and want to learn.
And the process by which change occurs makes all the difference. Healthy changes in education processes tend to be created and driven by students, teachers and parents; not by administrators.
Ideally, this supplement will generate new ideas far beyond its scope and contents. It should be a catalyst for a series of discussions to find ways to catapult students beyond traditional education.
With social networking growing exponentially, maybe it is time to merge traditional education with modern communication technology.
Significantly, Dominica needs to develop a human resource bank of skills that are relevant to our national development goals, and this should be an underlying element of the education system.
Maybe it is time to put more importance on education as a social benefit and encourage members of communities across the island to use education as a way to raise their social status.
Keeping up with modern societies requires that Dominica must offer students more flexible learning choices and facilitate more personal approaches to learning, such as online studies.
A recurring theme in the supplement is the need for parents and schools to mould students' character. The creation of students of good character should be the strongest element of education.
With children so quickly and pervasively exposed to sex and violence by a plethora of social media, schools have to put the utmost effort into students' character development.
It is our hope that the information in this supplement will inspire administrators, teachers and parents to take the initiative to ensure students learn despite their circumstances or limitations.
Money makes the world go round. This is the time to teach students how to control their economic status by giving them the skills they need to value and manage an income.
Having an appreciation for money and knowing how to invest it helps students become leaders and innovators. It helps them find ways to earn and keep an income in a challenging economy.
Let the ideas flow. And let those ideas generate new, innovative ways and means to boost the education of Dominica's youths and help them attain and maintain the highest standards of excellence.
(See following stories in our series)