0

The Learning Crisis

EDITOR, The Tribune.


In recent days the effects of the failure of many students to successfully learn Maths and English skills have been highlighted by an RBC Royal Bank executive.

His narrative is nothing new. In fact, The Nassau Institute published a public policy essay by its former Vice President, Ralph Massey on this subject in 2009.

For the first time taxpayers were able to see more than just the average results of all subjects and the details were startling.

Here’s an excerpt.

“The English Language exam for the seven public high schools on New Providence shows that 44 percent passed, 39 percent simply failed, 17 percent got failing grades and were language illiterate.

“The results on the Mathematics exam are far worse, 18 percent passed, 36 percent failed and 46 percent were numerically illiterate. This 46 percent do not know the difference between addition and multiplication.

In other words 56% of those taking the English exam failed and 82% of those sitting the Mathematics tests flunked.

Average results in all subjects released this past September indicated that 54.33 percent of those taking the BJC received grades of D or worse.

In the BGCSE exams 51.38 percent received grades of D or worse.

More details allowing and in depth analysis subject by subject are necessary going forward so the public will have a better understanding of the results their tax dollars are having with public education.

The public system has been failing far too many of our children for what amounts to decades now. It is in the best interest of everyone that there is an urgent turnaround.

To paraphrase Gary Becker, 1992 Nobel Laureate in Economics pointed out, significant economic growth is invariably accompanied by “large increases in education and training”.

Yours in Liberty,

THE NASSAU INSTITUTE

RICK LOWE

President

www.nassauinstitute.org

February 4, 2018.

Comments

OMG 9 months, 1 week ago

What do you expect from a system so mired in cultural inefficiency that real changes are never made. On Eleuthera recently (and bear in mind BGCSE and BGC exams are fast approaching) there was school on Monday disrupted by taking chairs to workers house.Tuesday school closed for awards ceremony. Wednesday school.Thursday 1/2 for sports in Rock Sound.Fridays school closed for sports day in Rock Sound. Add to that throughout the year school closing early for staff meetings , no water visiting speakers and band practice three times a week, are you surprised that so many students struggle ?

1

joeblow 9 months, 1 week ago

It doesn't matter what or how you teach, if students are not interested in learning they will not learn. Too many students do not see the value of a good education and they lack the social structure and support that guides them in that direction. Many parents cannot even help their children with their homework!

Too many Bahamians do not see the link between education, self discipline and a more productive life. That is the heart of the problem!

2

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

You make valid points joeblow, and these issues cannot be denied. The question remains what do we do to improve education? We can't keep saying these things and not adjust to accommodate for them somehow as long as so many of the kids coming out of public school are left at a disadvantage. I'm sure that's easier said than done but in 2009 56% of those taking the English exam failed and 82% of those sitting the Mathematics tests flunked. And that was in 2009. What do today's numbers look like in those two subjects?

1

joeblow 9 months, 1 week ago

This becomes complicated because there are multilayered socioeconomic factors involved. If we could get people to see a clear link between education and an improved quality of life, it would be easier to sell education. However, we do not live in a society based on meritocracy; petty politics and people in positions based on affiliation rather than qualifications makes the education talking point moot. We have shown that you do not need an education to "succeed". Rather than taking a one size fits all approach to education we need to identify how children are naturally inclined and develop core programs based on those inclinations. We have created a society where most people reject their natural God given abilities and chose instead to make a living. This results in unhappy, unmotivated people performing in jobs that they do not want. The education model has to change to reflect this. Those who are better working with their hands should follow the stream that allows them to do so. Math and English should be incorporated around what they like, rather than as subjects unconnected to anything practical.

1

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

I agree. Improvement is easier said than done. It's time we at least moved past blame and maybe try some different things. Who knows something might just work to help our children.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

Thanks joeblow. Here's hoping there is change that effects the results in a positive way..

0

stillwaters 9 months, 1 week ago

If a student is hungry for learning, an education is their first priority. Stop blaming systems, teachers, curriculums and force students to start taking responsibility for their success. Once out of school, too many Bahamians lament the fact that they never worked hard enough at taking school seriously, but by then......... just too late.

1

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

I will bet you my last red cent that Rick Lowe will support the present 25% of students who go to private schools based on family ties, colour, ethnicity, income or religion .......... and the 75% who go to public schools who are cookie-cutter institutions who are beleaguered by bureaucracy, poor planning and unions who cover-up for lousy teachers and administrators. The 25% also receive millions of public funds and they produce 90% of the BJC and BGCSE passing grades and get the bulk of the scholarships and owe the government $150million.

But he will support that educational system because he is part of the elite as well.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

Our children are being dealt a loysy hand but the big white bogeyman is the problem sheeprunner12.

Do you have any ideas how we might solve the problem with the educational system?

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

Correction:

Our children are being dealt a lousy hand but the big white bogeyman is the problem sheeprunner12.

Do you have any ideas how we might solve the problem with the educational system?

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

Read my comments on education over the many years on this blog ...... but the status quo is a mountain to move in this country ....... In the meantime, the country continues to creep along based on its colonial institutions.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

Thanks. Just trying to determine if the big white bogeyman was the problem as you stated earlier or not LOL. Were you able to read the suggestions for improvement in the pdf?

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

I do not understand why Rick Lowe insists on this "big white bogeyman" as it relates to public vs private education ......... the fact is that the PLP took over in 1967 and they created a watered down version of education while eliminating the only elite GHS where the top students could attend and excel ..... the real bogeyman is the Sunshine Boys who benefitted from the Pindling era and reinforced the social status quo on the poor Bahamians ..... The Bahamian whites and the old Bay Street Boys continued to enjoy their fruits from five or six generations. So, find the real modern bogeyman.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months, 1 week ago

The question remains, how do we improve education. Share some ideas. The problems with education are real. Solutions are necessary for the future of many Bahamian children.

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

Rick Lowe ........ Take your precious Nassau Institute ideas and go and sit down with Jeff LLoyd and the Unions and see how far you will get ....... SMDH

0

bogart 9 months, 1 week ago

The failure of many of our students to learnMaths and English skills was highlighted by the foreign RoyalBank head.......factually, realistically the banks all hire whomsoever has the skills to fit the few vacancies thst arise from time to time from an ample supply of Bahamians from both the private and public schools, COB banking ABIB, ACIB banking graduates and with banking, finance, accounting having many students both here and in many financial crntres sbroad.

Now politically, socially educationnally etc on many of the Bahamian public school students having d grades the causes are many, including, impoverished homes, single mothers, different broughtupsuies, lack of family planning, lack of christian teaching etc with a combination of these and others with exceptions for success also in each. Before throwing more and more money, a thorough analysis of the low grades be done. Teachers are called upon to teach maths and english but should aldo be able to teach children. Govts have given free education to anyone from any where on the planet who can enroll in a govt classroom, govt have allowed hugh class sizes, gpvts have edication budgets pf spme 300 million plus imay be wrong but for some 50000 students thays like some 6000 per year or more than provate schools who not only pay taxes for public schools but also their own private fees.....

0

hrysippus 9 months, 1 week ago

It is interesting that the private schools compensate their teachers at a lower level than do public schools, despite this the private schools seem to be able to attract and retain a more effective body of educators. /is it the size of the classes, or perhaps the campus facilities? It would be edifying to find out.

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

Top private schools create learning cultures with many using foreign teachers and/or Bahamians who are given tuition incentives .......... and others have family ties with religious links OR enclaves with foreigners who are been groomed to go to elite overseas schools with long pockets ........ Hence the SDA or Catholic or QC or Lyford Cay or SAS etc. ........ But there are too many private pop-up schools in Nassau with under 50 students who are calling themselves "schools". This cannot be duplicated in the public schools with the present learning culture and work environments (from gangs to TB).

0

ThisIsOurs 9 months, 1 week ago

All of those things have aninput but the most important factor is parental involvement. You might extrapolate that a child going to private school may be more likely to have parents involved in their education, but it's not a strict private public thing

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

To a certain extent ......... "You get what you pay for" is true of education as well ........... But every Bahamian pays for education ........ We pay twice for private schooling (that's all).

0

bogart 9 months, 1 week ago

Sheepr......you forgot to include children of illegal Haishun under 18 years old who aint yet choose to apply to get straight an who the govt gives a free education, who are challenged in a number of areas, brought up by kreole speaking parents ducking immigration, in tightly knit kreole communities where only they live in appalling govt approved shanties ( it only becomes unapproved when there is legal action) and are allegedly more than half da classroom especially in all dem govt sclools built on the southern sode of the island where dey illegal boats land and dey live an da govt always talking bout which one buildin more schools than da odder one...

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

The "kreole chirren" cost Joe Public at least $100 million a year in public schooling alone ..... We fatten the frog for the snake.

0

bogart 9 months, 1 week ago

.....another boat landed, salaries to be paid to officers searching to apprehend them, govt vehicles money spent for gas to transport, ......surely there must be a solution to this constant repeated invasion of our sovereign territory ..listening to the radio talk shows Bahamians are getting angrier and angrier....something has to be done.....???

0

sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

If you read the Massey study (The Learning Crisis) as a synopsis of the present state of education in The Bahamas, the author has very little experience with Bahamian norms and relies on US/OECD research and a handful of NP schools as his reference points to generalize about an educational system that spans 30 islands and almost 300 schools ........ this work is not valid or reliable to any educational researcher ...... He probably was hired by Rick Lowe & Associates to reinforce the status quo today ...... a baby college, a primary lab school, charter schools, educational vouchers???????? ............ Are we back to No Child Left Behind or Reach For The Top??????? ........ and that failed.

Anyone heard anything from the eye doctor who has the solution for everything in The Bahamas lately??????? ............ Maybe he and Rick Lowe can pay a visit to The Dramaful Minister and see if they can come up with something new for the cookie-cutter schools.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

sheeprunner12 instead of suggesting the Massey report is useless, offer ideas that might help solve the problem that we obviously agree exists.

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

Mr. Lowe, it is not for a person to effect change ....... when the political and mercantile oligarchy jealously protects their interests ....... #WeMarch

He who have ears to hear, or eyes to see, or tongue to speak ..............

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

sheeprunner12, ideas effect change. Maybe if there are enough reasonable ideas advanced we will begin to see change? It is in the political and mercantile classes interest to support effective education. How are they blocking improvement?

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

Mr. Lowe ........... If the elite always supported the masses, there would have been NO need for social revolutions ........... I trust the Nassau Institute will speak with the Minister and share your ideas for education "reform" ....... Godspeed, sir.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

If I get the chance I will certainly share thoughts on ideas for possible improvement with the Minister. I trust you will do the same. Do you have specific examples where the political and mercantile classes "blocked" improvement of education? If so I would like to share those with the Minister as well opportunity permitting. Here's hoping.

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

  1. Closing the old GHS ........ 2. Basing scholarships on mere academics ...... 3. Mining public schools for top students ..... 4. Creating a "native" exam ......... 5. Double standards in curriculum/testing .......... 6. school hours & yearly schedule ............ 7. CBA & UNIONS .....8. PSC General Orders ........... The educational system is set up for public school students to be at a disadvantage to the private/IB schools.
0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

Thanks sheeprunner12. Should I get the chance to meet the Minister I will certainly share your views.

0

joeblow 9 months ago

Teachers may be better motivated if they were paid on a sliding scale based on in school and national exam results. If a system is created where a special code is used on each exam paper that can then be traced to a specific teacher, we can better identify teachers who are actually having success in the classroom. These teachers can then be compensated financially based on exam outcomes. there is no reason why a good teacher should not be rewarded for their work!

0

bogart 9 months ago

.....Teachers who are all part of the Union just appear to simply ask for more compensation to endure challenges in the system. The Union leader sometime ago mentioned some challenges yhat the govt needs to look into so why not finally interview ALL public school school teachers confidenyial interviews and take it from there. It is obvious nothing has worked so far if the problem still exists with the same trained teachers for both the private and public school systems who deliver results in the privatte schools while the public schools remain challenged

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

If we want change ....... decentralize the power to select teachers and administrators from Thompson Blvd to each school board......... Rate schools and teachers based on their national exams results (A-G) ........ incentivize schools and staff based on improved and sustained results year-over-year ........ and take back the power of the Unions and give it to the Teaching Service Commission .......... Government needs to hold the school communities accountable for the huge sums of money invested each year.

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

THE COLLUSION BETWEEN POLITICS & THE ELITE in BAHAMIAN EDUCATION

  1. Closing the old GHS ........ 2. Basing scholarships on mere academics ...... 3. Mining public schools for top students ..... 4. Creating a "native" exam ......... 5. Double standards in curriculum/testing .......... 6. Archaic school hours & yearly schedule ............ 7. CBAs & UNIONS .....8. PSC General Orders ........... The educational system is set up for public school students to be at a disadvantage to the private/IB schools.
0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

A few observations/questions to your points: 1. Closing the old GHS ........ A government change that should be reversed. 2. Basing scholarships on mere academics ...... I had the great fortune to sit on a board for technical scholarships and while academics is important many other criteria apply. 3. Mining public schools for top students ..... Who can blame anybody for looking for the best students? 4. Creating a "native" exam ......... What do you mean? 5. Double standards in curriculum/testing .......... Aren't there set curriculum requirements by the government? Aren't the BJC and BGCSE exams the same for all students? 6. Archaic school hours & yearly schedule ............ You mean should be longer hours? 7. CBAs & UNIONS ..... What action do you recommend? 8. PSC General Orders ........... What do you recommend? 9. The educational system is set up for public school students to be at a disadvantage to the private/IB schools. This is the function of government I thought? Why do they allow whatever you think is going on?

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

You answered the question yourself ......... collusion by the elite vs the masses

0

sheeprunner12 9 months ago

There is nothing else to add here ........ You have been blinded by the existing system ....... or overly impressed with the broken USA system ...... Just look at what is going on in Florida etc. with the abuse of smartphones and guns.

0

RickLoweBahamas 9 months ago

So why add unrelated comment? You still haven't defined how collusion or what collusion exists/ Just as I thought we were getting somewhere.

0

Sign in to comment