By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE DEMOCRATIC National Alliance will put an end to the “social promotion” of students in the public education system if elected as the next government.
DNA Leader Branville McCartney said his administration will harness the country’s education budget to modernise curricula and improve the national average.
At a mass rally in the Kemp Road area last night, Mr McCartney told supporters that both major parties have failed to empower “grass-root areas” during their collective 20 years of governance.
“Bahamians, things don’t just happen,” Mr McCartney said. “Almost 500 Bahamians did not just get murdered in the last five years. Over 800 Bahamians did not just get murdered in the last 10 years. We did not just lose our tourism edge. We did not just lose our homes.”
He added: “The seeds for these acts were planted by Christie and Ingraham and as they say, the roosters have come home to hatch.”
If elected, Mr McCartney said his government will implement strategies and curriculum to ensure that students matriculate based on achievement rather than age.
“We know that all of our children are not suited to be doctors, lawyers or accountants. We know that all of our children will not be police officers, bankers, construction workers or pilots.
This is why the DNA will totally revamp our educational system. We will modernize this system so that we can bring effective techniques that will help to nurture the God-given talents of all our children.”
New primary school curricula will include social, personal and health programmes that will focus on developing fundamentals, said Mr McCartney, who said the transformative framework will engender life-long learners.
Strategies outlined also include: expanding Special Education resources and facilities, increasing scholarships and teacher salaries, and partnerships between secondary and tertiary schools.
“Our most precious resources are not the roads, the airport, our cars, our clothes or our jewellery. Our most precious resource is not tourism, fishing or banking. Our most precious resource is our people and our children in particular.”
“We have some of our smartest people positively contributing to other countries because our government has lacked the political will to diversify our economy and make opportunities available for them. We will fix this one day.”
Outlining strategic initiatives to further develop the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr McCartney underscored the ministry’s critical function for nation building.
Mr McCartney said his party also plans to increase national sporting opportunities through the establishment oversight committees, sporting leagues, training facilities, mentorship programmes, and a national sporting website. He said his administration would also seek to implement a standardized reward process for world-class Bahamian athletes.
Highlighting an erosion of culture, Mr McCartney said his government will establish national schools, institutes and facilities for disciplines related to the cultural sector.
A DNA government would also seek to commission a National Research Institute for the conservation and preservation of all aspects of Bahamian culture and cultural property, and establish a national archive for theatre and performing arts.
“Bahamians you have the power to ensure that your children receive first rate educational opportunities,” Mr McCartney said.
“You have the power to ensure that children are safe in school. You have the power tonight to ensure that we have a safe Bahamas.
He added: “If you build the people, they will build the roads. If you build the people, they will build the schools. If you build the people, they will build the infrastructure. If you build people, they will build a better Bahamas. We will restore power to the people.”