Over the years secondary schools have broadened their curricula options as they seek to provide suitable courses that provide for the interests and needs of students in a rapidly changing society. To this end, the Dominica Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) had as its key objectives to improve the quality of education in secondary schools through the provision of TVET equipment and the training of teachers in these critical areas. The project was intended to promote curriculum diversification so as to better meet the needs of the new secondary population. The project has allowed schools to introduce new subject areas such as garment making, food preparation, crop production and cosmetology to the curriculum. It has also provided a greater impetus for boys by permitting more schools to engage in carpentry (woods), electricity, technical drawing and auto.
Dominica has now begun to equip schools through the DEEP with the human and physical resources to begin CVQs. Three schools to date, Goodwill Secondary – garment making, North East Comprehensive - crop production and Dominica Grammar School – food preparation are making a start, with others to begin in the next few years in such diverse areas as auto repair, furniture making, plumbing and cosmetology.
These initiatives in TVET have the potential to transform secondary education in Dominica while meeting the needs of potential local and regional employers. TVET must not be seen as second-rate education; it is essential education for the twentieth century, so much so that Jamaica now mandates all secondary students to leave school with one CVQ. Further, schools need to embrace safety at the school and, in particular, in laboratories and workrooms. Additionally, the Ministry of Education will need to put in place equipment maintenance policies to safeguard the investment in equipment. If these essentials can be met, Dominican students will be better placed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.