Nassau, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Education will continue to reform the educational system in The Bahamas despite the recent cuts in the budget. The Minister of Education, the Hon. Desmond Bannister made the statement during his contribution to the budget debate on Monday, June 7 in the House of Assembly.
“The Ministry of Education will utilise its allocation in the 2010 / 2011 budget not only to continue the activities and initiatives undertaken during the 2009 / 10 budget year, but also to implement new programmes designed to enhance the delivery of education in our schools,” said Mr. Bannister.
He said that the Department of Education has continued its education reform efforts as it seeks to improve student achievement and teacher performance, raise public awareness of, and increase community involvement in the education process, and to ensure that our schools are safe, conducive learning environments.”
“The 2009/2010 budget enabled the Ministry to undertake a number of key initiatives in schools including instituting a number of intervention programmes to ensure that students improve their proficiency in reading and mathematics, and sustain the high level of performance that the public has come to expect in the annual competitions and exhibitions in the areas of Technical/Vocational Studies, Visual Arts, Performing Arts Religious Studies, Health & Family Life, Modern Languages and Mathematics.
At the primary level, Mr. Bannister said the budget will allow for the ‘expansion’ of literacy and numeracy programmes, with specific emphasis on the establishment of a ‘National Numeracy Committee’ with responsibility of improving numeracy standards at the national level.
“A similar committee will be formalised for our Literacy initiatives which are experiencing some degree of success,” he said.
Other plans for the Ministry include the provision for resources for the production of ‘indigenous’ learning materials, especially for students whose readiness to learn is at risk.
With a view to ensure that all students have access to ‘technology-aided instruction,’ he said that the STI Administration Software will be expanded to include more schools.
Among the other provisions in the new budget are funds for students seeking a second chance at success through the Extended Learning Programme and Distance Learning and to continue the work with the Bahamas Learning Channel.
“We all realise that fundamental to the success of any school is the quality of its administrators and faculty. The 2010 / 2011 budget will therefore enable us to strengthen our existing cohort of specialist teachers by hiring twenty new teachers. It will also permit us, to continue our expansion of specialist programmes to the Family Islands in the areas of Spanish, Physical Education and Music through the utilisation of itinerant teachers.”