FREEPORT – Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said he is pleased with the progress of renovations on schools in Grand Bahama and that he expects a very smooth opening for government-operated schools on the island.
Mr Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville, toured many of the schools last Friday.
Also with them were senior officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and staff from the Ministry of Works.
The Education boss said having a Minister in Grand Bahama like Dr Darville, who has a degree in engineering, helps with the oversight of the repairs.
He admitted that during the tour, they discovered “some issues, but we are going to get those addressed.
“But other than that, all the other repairs are moving quite smoothly and we do not see that as an issue for us opening up and we are very pleased with the quality of work and the way the works are going.”
The minister’s comments followed a tour of West Grand Bahama schools, where they discovered some minor plumbing issues which he promised will be addressed.
Mr Fitzgerald noted that more than half a million dollars worth of repairs was needed in Grand Bahama this summer.
With regard to schools being ready for opening day, the minister said: “It seems like we are not going to have any problems with that. It looks like from what I have seen by the end of next week we will be ready.”
On the subject of staffing, the minister said last year they hired 120 teachers throughout the Bahamas, the largest influx of teachers in a very long time.
“That helped to address a lot of the deficiencies that had built up over years.
“What happens is that today we have about 200 trained teachers who are actually not teaching in the classroom, who are spread either with the ministry’s headquarters or in other ministries throughout the government.
“There is a high demand for highly skilled technical personnel and trained teachers come with a skill set that is needed in the Public Service,” he said.