Inspired by the discussions held at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (19CCEM), youth representatives from the Progressive Liberal Party, Free National Movement and the Democratic National Alliance, joined forces to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is focused on nonpartisan attention on educational development.
The two paged MOU, signed on Friday by Derek Carey of the PLP’s Progressive Young Liberals, Jamal Strachan of the FNM’s Torchbearers Youth Association, and Jayson Braynen of the DNA’s Young Democrats Youth Association, was formed out of “the need to collaborate efforts for the benefit of present and future students in The Bahamas.”
It goes further to state, “This partnership could not come at a more urgent time, especially in light of the recent announcement that none of the ‘Education for All’ goals set in 2000 for every Commonwealth member state, including The Bahamas, will be achieved this year as mandated.”
The purpose of the document, as clearly stated in the agreement, is to ensure that “voices of the student delegates [are] translated into sound political policy in The Bahamas.”
“By presenting a unified proposal to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), the crafting of a Bahamian education system that is relevant to the concerns of young people can take place across party lines. Most importantly, this will be the first step towards apolitical education development, regardless of the results of the next general election,” the document read.
The MOU took two days of discussion and deliberation to draft and requires that representatives from each party meet for three joint planning sessions in the next 12 months.
It also requires “public lobbying for political leaders to address key topics” including issues relating to the performance outcomes of teachers, special needs students and conflict resolution. The document became effective on the date signed and becomes null and void on the first day after the next Bahamian general election, unless otherwise agreed upon.
Following the signing of the MOU at the 19CCEM, the three political youth leaders gave an official statement to the media.
“Today as we come together in unity and understanding with all youth political arms, this memorandum will shift the dynamics and set a new precedence for our students, youth and teachers at large for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, as we continue to build a stronger Bahamas,” said Derek Carey, Progressive Young Liberals National Chairman and 19CCEM Bahamas Youth Delegate.
“This occasion, facilitated under the 19CCEM was indeed a ground breaking one, for both this generation and the local political parties in The Bahamas. This document in its entirety has the full support of the T.Y.A branch, for we believe collectively, across all political boarders, this document has the potency and strength to empower this generation and influence the education system,” said Jamal Strachan, Torchbearers Trustee and 19CCEM Bahamas Youth Delegate.
“Though we may be separate political entities with varying views, I think it’s incumbent on us to not let the politics of the past determine our standards for our future. Students cannot be pawns for election-time agendas, their challenges are real and affecting us daily. There are many things our parties can have contentious debate over, but rejuvenating our approach to education in The Bahamas is not one of these things. I look forward to this unilateral effort,” said Jayson Braynen, Young Democrats 19CCEM Bahamas Youth Delegate.