New Providence, Bahamas
The eyes of the world are again focused on The Bahamas as the Minister For Education Science and Technology, the Honourable Jerome Kennedy Fitzgerald, introduces the formation of a Political Committee for “Shared Vision For Education 2030” and a National Education Committee to develop ideas that will transition into a strategic plan and ultimately policies, which will govern education in The Bahamas for the next 15-20 years.
The Minister ingeminated the goal of the Committee by declaring that the plan is not a PLP Plan, not an FNM Plan, not a DNA Plan but a “Bahamian Plan” - A Plan for the direction that education will pursue in order to enable the advancement of the Bahamian People”.
During the announcement, Minister Fitzgerald thanked the Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Perry Gladstone Christie, for his support and sanctioning of the assemblage. Recognition was also extended to the Leader of the Opposition, The Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis for his party’s participation on the Committee. FNM representatives of the committee included former Minister of Education Mr. Carl Bethel, the Honourable Hubert Chipman and The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Mr. Branville McCartney.
A Bi-Partisan Approach normally consists of representatives from two Political Parties uniting to achieve a formulated goal. However, in The Bahamas’ case, three political parties are represented and in the best interest of the country, have mandated to forge ahead in order to implement and adopt policies to govern the advancement of education.
· Minister Fitzgerald expressed gratitude to the representatives of the Government who were called upon to serve on the Committee. These include:
· The Honourable Dr. Bernard Nottage,
· The Honourable Allyson Maynard-Gib son,
· The Honourable Glenys Hanna-Martin,
· The Honourable Melanie Griffin
· Alfred Sears, Chairman of the College of The Bahamas and former Minister For Education and
· The Honourable Sharon Wilson, President of the Senate of The Bahamas.
Hon. Jerome K. Fitzgerald asserted that each and every member of the esteemed Committee has one common goal, and that is the bridled passion for the growth and development of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas. Confirmation of this commitment to passion is evidenced in the service to the Committee for a Shared Vision for Education 2030.
What Is A BiPartisan Approach?
It is a shared vision for the advancement of education in the country. It is one in which elected leaders, past and present form into a committee that will review policies, research methodology, make recommendations and implement applicable changes procedures and laws—all for the advancement of an educational system that will further place graduates on an even scale with others around the world.
The Minister declared that all members have signed on to work as a team, combining resources to combat the issues and correlated problems of education.
It is anticipated that this plan will not be impacted by governmental change and that it will continue without disruption in policies, plans, programmes and funding, regardless of whichever party governs the country.
Minister Fitzgerald further stated that, “The time has come for the country to arrest the five-year knee-jerk approach to education and map out a course that will take Bahamians further in achieving some basic mandates such as:
1.To ensure that every student leaves primary school fully; literate and numerate,
2. To ensure that all school leavers are able to transition effectively from school into higher education, the labour market and society and,
3.To enhance the quality of the educational experience offered by providing teachers, other educational professionals and support staff with a variety of relevant and effective professional development activities and other such support services.
The Minister pledged on behalf of his colleagues that the committee will present a progress report to the Bahamian people with a final chronicle concluded before the end of May 2014.
Former Minister of Education and Committee Member, Mr. Carl Bethel expressed to Minister Fitzgerald that it is a wonderful initiative, working together for a shared vision for education. Mr. Bethel went on to state that the Free National Movement (FNM) looks forward to joining forces in “developing a workable, feasible, practically achievable national shared vision for education”.
On 15 April 2013, Minister Fitzgerald ultimately announced that the first meeting of the Political Committee For A Shared Vision For Education 2030 had concluded and that it was a historic day in Education in the Nation.
It was again exigently noted that the nation’s leader Prime Minister the Right Honourable Perry Christie had sanctioned the Committee. For this he was graciously applauded.
In addition, Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Opposition, Free National Movement (FNM) was recognized for his Party’s participation as evidenced by the FNM representatives that were present, which included:
· The Honourable Hubert Chipman and
· Mr. Carl Bethel.
Mr. Branville McCartney, Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) was additionally commended for his continued support.
Former Ministers of Education each of whom has brought value to education during their tenure are:
· The Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage is credited with instituting the Family Life and Health Curriculum in the Public Education System and the introduction of the Technical Cadet Program;
· The Hon. Alfred Sears for expanding preschools and establishing the Institute for Educational Leadership; a training programme for school administrators;
· The Hon. Carl Bethel implemented the Protocols for the Vetting of New Teachers and introduced a draft 10 year plan for education and
A Bi-Partisan Approach To Eduacation will result in the needed advancement for the people of The Bahamas and will be updated continually in this magazine.
Biography Of The Honourable Jerome Kennedy Fitzgerald:
The Honourable Jerome K. Fitzgerald was appointed Minister of Education, Science and Technology of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on 10th May, 2012. He previously served as a Senator from 2007-2012.
Minister Fitzgerald is an attorney-at-