Senior government officials, businesspersons, entrepreneurs and other sectors of the Bahamian society listen attentively as distinguished local and international authorities address a wide spectrum of topics and subject matter. (Photo: Kristaan Ingraham)
By: Llonella Gilbert
NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture is not “turning a deaf ear or a blind eye” to the difficulties faced within the educational system the Minister of Education the Hon. Carl Bethel said.
Mr. Bethel said the Ministry is “aggressively pursuing the solutions, ideas and various strategies recommended by professionals and education partners in the reorganisation of the educational system in The Bahamas”.
“Having successfully managed to open every school smoothly, on time, on the first day of school, for the first time since 2001, we in the Ministry immediately sought to bring greater focus to what I have called ‘the content of education’,” he said at the 17th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook Seminar, Wednesday, January 9, 2008.
Mr. Bethel explained to the senior government officials, businesspersons, entrepreneurs and other sectors of the Bahamian society present at the seminar that there is no overnight fix and that improvements in terms of examination results will be incremental.
“However, with the collective brainstorming that we have and continue to engage in, the appropriate strategies we have realized, it is envisioned that some of the reforms we will shortly undertake will translate into a noticeable and we hope, measurable success in terms of the quality of future graduates who will exit our national education system.”
Mr. Bethel acknowledged that the fact that the country is gravely challenged by mal-adjusted, violent and criminal elements demonstrates that the educational system has not fully inculcated positive values in many young persons.
Similarly, he noted that as far as the business community is concerned, the country’s system of education is not adequately meeting their needs or expectations.
“This is so,” Mr. Bethel said, “despite the fact that there have been and continue to be incremental improvements in education.”
The Minister noted that, throughout months of sustained dialogue with the technical officers in the Department of Education, it became apparent to him that there is a general acceptance of a real and urgent need to address more readily the academic expectations of all students in schools, as they relate to career choices and the demand of skills in the local and global economies.
He pointed out that it is also accepted that no one benefits from an overcrowded curriculum, which does not place specific emphasis on imparting a core of knowledge that produces literate, numerate and socially aware graduates where educational exposure will allow them to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of the country.
In addition, Mr. Bethel said it is accepted by the Department that new and improved methodologies are required to be employed in the delivery process in the classroom, having regard to the benefits that accrue from incorporating technology in the teaching and learning process.
“These new and expanded strategies which will, hopefully, give effort to the education reform initiatives, will be contained in a National Strategic Plan for Education for The Bahamas, and I would like to assure you that they have been designed to produce students who are not only able to compete regionally but internationally as well.”
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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Senior government officials, businesspersons, entrepreneurs and other sectors of the Bahamian society listen attentively as distinguished local and international authorities address a wide spectrum of topics and subject matter. (BIS photo: Kristaan Ingraham)