NASSAU, The Bahamas – The government has officially opened a first class state-of the-art institute for special education. A ceremony was held on Thursday, April 16 to open the institute, which has been named after veteran educator, Miss Marjorie Davis. The Institute is located on the site of the former Our Lady’s School on Deveaux Street. Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Perry G. Christie attended the ceremony commemorating the opening of the institute. He said that the establishment of this type of facility should come as ‘no surprise’ as education is a top priority for the government.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to address you at the opening of this institution for special education,” said Mr. Christie. “It is through education that we promote the development of our people and the nation as a whole.”
He said that the primary goal of education in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is to ensure that all persons, irrespective of their islands of residence, develop physically, mentally, socially and spiritually in order to function responsibly and productively in an increasingly dynamic, scientific, technological and complex society and a world where there is instant connectivity and one that is increasingly inter-dependent.
While honoring the patron of the institute, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald said that Miss Davis dedicated her life to educating Bahamian youths. “Miss Davis is a quiet but powerful woman,” he said. “She pursued education during an era when many women were quite subservient and encouraged to become home-makers rather than career women. Rather unassuming, Miss Davis knew her purpose in life and pursued her purpose with passion.”
Minister of National Security, Hon. Bernard J. Nottage was also in attendance and said that he was ‘delighted’ to attend the ceremony, as Miss Davis is a former teacher of his.
Miss Marjorie Davis was born in Nassau on 2nd November 1928 and is the second of twelve children born to the late Cyrus Ulysses (a Papal Knight) and Mrs. Hilda Davis. Her career spanned over six decades in education. She began her career as an educator in 1950, starting off as a Latin teacher at Government High School. She also taught a number of other subjects including Spanish, Religious Knowledge and Commerce. After receiving a Master’s Degree in Education in l970, she assumed administrative duties at the Ministry of Education Headquarters where she held various portfolios in the Department of Education as Senior Education Officer for Guidance and Counselling.
In 1977, she became the first female Director of Education, a post she held for eleven years. Then in 1988, she was offered a five-year contract to co-ordinate the introduction of a new secondary school examination. Under Miss Davis’ guidance, the first sitting of the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examination was successfully implemented in May, l993.
She has been involved in numerous educational, civic and religious groups, including The Bahamas Association for the Mentally Retarded, The Bahamas National Trust, the Council for the Handicapped, the Advisory Committee on Tourism, the Women’s Advisory Committee, St. Augustine’s Board of Governors, The College of the Bahamas Council, the Screening Committee for the Lyford Cay Scholarship Awards, the Syntex Scholarship and the United World Colleges Scheme Committee. She is a charter member of the Zonta Club of Nassau, and a devoted member of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.
Miss Davis retired in l993. Since retiring she has served as a volunteer for the ‘Let’s Read Bahamas’ programme and to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.