The government will implement two new programmes at the start of the 2014/2015 school year that will seek to increase the number of Bahamian students who actually graduate high school.
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald announced on Wednesday that a student achievement officer programme and an evening institute will be launched.
“Each senior high school will have at least one student achievement officer who will be responsible for identifying students who are having academic challenges and ensuring that programmes are in place to address the needs of the students,” he said.
The education minister said there is a need to assess, address and track students as individuals.
“Using the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) scores we are able to asses what level the student is at and what intervention is necessary for them moving into grade 10 as opposed to them just going along with whatever the programme was,” Minister Fitzgerald said.
“We are now instituionalising an officer who will be tracking these students who would traditionally fall through the cracks. This programme will be designed to cater to the students’ individual needs. This will ensure that the students get the attention in the area they need to get it in.”
The minister explained that the programme will allow the ministry to get direct feedback and will be setting up a student achievement unit.
“The ministry will setup this unit to assist with tracking these students and coordinating with these officers in the various schools,” Minister Fitzgerald said.
The second programme will be in the form of an evening institute.
“The evening institute is something that we are going to start this year and it’s really to assist again with our students who are challenged and need intervention and also those who are looking to improve their grades in other areas,” he said.
“It’s a commitment by our teachers and the cost of that will be taken on by the ministry all in an effort to close the achievement gap. We want to give our students every possible opportunity as educators to make them successful during their time in the school system.”
The institute will focus primarily on math and English but also cater to other subjects.
According to results released by education officials on Wednesday, the national math average remains at an “E” while the English language average improved from a “D” to a “D+.”
“The results of our national examinations reflect that teachers and administrators throughout our archipelago have been focused on demonstrating their students’ successes across the ability range,” Minister Fitzgerald said during the announcement of the national examination results.
“The national examinations are designed to show what students know, understand and can do after having completed a prescribed course of study. Therefore the grades awarded to students are indicators of their achievements and their potential and not the sum total of their worth.”