(CBN4, DOMINICA)-In its efforts to develop the human resource capacity on the island, the Government of Dominica says it will continue to provide educational opportunities for all young people.

Roslyn Paul, Parliamentary Representative for the Paix Bouche constituency and Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development proclaimed that it is this Labour Party administration that has made opportunities available for students in Dominica.

“Our government continues to support education. If we listen to the results of the CSEC exams last year, we would have noticed that Dominica has made strides. In fact, Dominica was top in the OECS. And so all of this effort that this government, and I will always emphasize this government because it didn’t happen before so it’s not an entitlement, it is because it is a caring government. We continue to ensure support for students and support for education.” 

Paul was addressing a town hall meeting in her constituency on Wednesday (March 23rd, 2017) and stressed that having the space available at the schools does not mean that a student will actually be able to attend as circumstances can prevent that from happening.

She reflected on her own school days.

“Available schools doesn’t mean access to schools. Many of us when we were growing up, many children passed and never saw the doors of a secondary school. The school was there, but we couldn’t go. And those of us who went, we went under serious duress and it was much hardship on our parents…You would see the shoes looking very pretty at the top, but when it rained, it was a shoe for sun. So it was hard times,” she recalled.

“Some of us walked to school….I mean we enjoyed eating mangoes on the way, but many a times we walked from Paix Bouche to PSS (Portsmouth Secondary School) and from PSS to Paix Bouche. And some of us who took the transportation, often we had to bow our heads in shame when the bus driver would say, ‘Tell your mother send my money for me!’ And this is no more! And it had to take this government to understand the plight and needs of people, particularly low income people.”

Paul pointed out that the government provides financial support, uniforms, textbooks, transportation, and tuition support for students, no matter their family’s political affiliation.

“During the summer, I had a series of meetings in the constituency with parents, students just to hear their issues and to encourage them to do well. And based on one of their articulated needs, and based on my own experience going up and down to Roseau, I know what the cost is. All of us as a government, encouraged by the Prime Minister, we understand that we need to put ourselves in the place of ordinary people,” she noted.

“And so, twenty-two thousand dollars ($22,000), in the first instance, was made available to help forty-nine (49) students within the Paix Bouche constituency to subsidize their transportation costs.”

The minister revealed that although the Ministry of Education and the Prime Minister received an abundance of applications, eight (8) students from her constituency are currently at university and being provided with financial support.

Paul further stressed that, as long as the parents and students are committed to education, there is no reason a child should be left out of school or should do badly.

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