Categorized | National News

Big Plans for Education

Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald announced that the government approved his request for increased funding, which will be used to implement new programmes that will modernize the country’s educational system.

During his contribution to the 2015/2016 budget debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, Fitzgerald announced numerous plans and initiatives the Ministry of Education will embark upon to ensure that education in the country meets the standards of the 21st century.

His plans include the establishment of the Mabel Walker Professional Development Institution, which is vital to the success of the Ministry of Education’s shared vision for 2030.
“Through this institution, employees will be assured of opportunities to continually keep pace with current 21st century educational standards, maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills needed to deliver professional service and pursue knowledge that is relevant and up-to-date,” Fitzgerald said.
The construction of phase one of the Mabel Walker Professional Development Institution is approximately $4 million.
The goal of the institute is to create a cadre of education professionals who are better prepared with the requisite skills to lead and serve, while promoting the value of on-going learning and growth for all.
“Mr. Speaker, with the erection of a state-of-the-art 400 capacity auditorium, two demonstration classrooms, an interactive computer classroom, recording and editing studio and an employee assistance complex, it is envisioned that the institution will provide a range of training opportunities for employees in the education system, acknowledging international and research-based standards and best practices for professional learning and growth,” Fitzgerald said.

He also announced that the Ministry of Education will introduce, for the first time, the Bahamas National High School Diploma, which will standardize high school education and create opportunities to improve the rate of success for high school students.

Fitzgerald said the National High School Diploma will allow students to choose paths that are designed to increase their success and provide them with transferrable skills so that they are better equipped for the real world upon the completion of high school.

“Concisely, the National High School Diploma will establish a benchmark for what is considered a minimum basic education that every child should obtain before leaving the school system and will include standards for civics, punctuality, job readiness, community service and parental involvement,” the minister of education explained.

“What The Bahamas National High School Diploma has done, is revolutionize the high school system in the country. We have redesigned and modernized the curriculum to maximize student achievement and success. The subjects students select will no longer be haphazardly chosen, but based on the pathway that the student desires.”

He noted that there are five types of courses offered: college, academic, open, applied and workforce.

In addition, Fitzgerald announced that a Career Academy will also be established

“The Career Academy seeks to address deficiencies presently observed in our existing educational structure, relative to career and technical education, specific training and assessment, with a view to continue to improve national examination results, reduce the dropout rate and enhance the capabilities of students presently considered non-performers in the general comprehensive school environment,” Fitzgerald pointed out.

He added that the establishment of a Career Academy will result in an improved graduation rate, decreased dropout rate, increased industry-based training and expand the employment capacity of students.

“The Career Academy will also offer considerable advantages over comprehensive schools including more diverse course offerings, increased cost-efficiency resulting from economies of scale, and the opportunity to develop stronger teaching and mentoring teams,” Fitzgerald explained.

The programs offered by the Career Academy will prepare students for national/industry certifications, advanced technical institutions, college or university, entry into their chosen career and scholarship opportunities.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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