The government is looking to change this year’s school curriculum at the primary and high school levels in order to get better results in examinations and on report cards.
According to Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, officials have found that many children cannot read at the third grade level.
“The curriculum at grade one through three has been revised so that we focus more on reading, math and doing grammar,” he said.
“Through the advice of the curriculum department we have doubled the hours and the amount of contact periods we are going to give for English. We have increased math by 40 per cent and we are going to spend more time on grammar and so we now have to focus on ensuring that the teachers who are teaching these subjects are teaching them in a manner in which we are able to get the most out of our students.”
The Bahamas’ national examinations have averaged a ‘D’ over the last several years.
Minister Fitzgerald said officials have a plan to change that.
“In high school we have to introduce some programmes to assist those moving on the BJC and BGCSEs. But in the meantime I really want to focus on grades one through three because the curriculum is too crowded and the children are not being equipped to compete,” he said.
Minister Fitzgerald said the government also hopes to equip teachers with the necessary tools for effective teaching.
“We want to give them the very best and latest training techniques that we have in order to make sure that the kids are able to read before they leave grade three,” he said.
The minister also continued his nationwide tour of public schools by visiting Sandilands and Palmdale Primary Schools, D.W. Davis Junior High School and C.I Gibson Senior High.
“So far I am very pleased with the level of works I have seen so far,” Minister Fitzgerald said.
“The contractors who live in the communities are actually the ones who are doing the work. We made a very special effort this year to ensure that we did that as much as we could. The contractors are responding well and they are going beyond what we’ve asked them. I’ve found that in the Family Islands. We will continue to move around the islands as much as we can. We are very pleased so far.”
The minister said the government hopes that the work will be completed soon.
“In the next two weeks we should be completed with all of the works, particularly in New Providence and several of the Family Islands. Towards the middle of August I will do an assessment and determine which schools we are still having issues with. But for the most part, the fact that we got started early caused us to mobilise contractors early and it looks as if for the most part, the schools are going to be completed in the next two weeks and we are very pleased about that.”
The government’s budget for school repairs is pegged at $4 million.