As the country chews over the latest examination results showing no progress for students in maths, English and science, here are some strong words to consider.
“The people deserve a government that realises the significance of improving our educational system with the will to pursue and enact long-overdue reforms... Bahamian students, young adults and learners of all ages have waited for these reforms for far too long under a government that fails to unlock their boundless potential.
“It is time for a government that not only makes educational reforms a priority but also possesses the wherewithal to make these improvements a reality.”
Strong words, indeed - it certainly is time, past time in fact, for reform that will lift the level of achievement by our nation’s students. Those words sound like the kind of thing we need to hear as we consider a continued lack of progress by students under Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd’s tenure.
There’s only one problem.
Those words were said by Mr Lloyd as the FNM campaigned for office. This is what we’re going to do, the party said. Reform. Unlocking potential. Improvement. Well, where is it?
In fact, where is Mr Lloyd? When The Tribune tried to ask him for comment yesterday on the results, he was apparently out of the country and unable to comment. For the record, they do have phones in other countries too.
It’s not as if he hasn’t had time to prepare a comment either - these results customarily come out in late August or early September, so there has been plenty of time to digest the unpalatable results and offer an explanation.
There is of course variation in the results - a few more A to C grades here, a drop in A grades there - but there is little sign of the revolutionary reform the FNM promised in order to encourage people to give them their votes.
In 2017, Mr Lloyd said something else regarding results: “We started out with a D, we are still at a D - something is wrong.”
Well, something is still wrong. Mr Lloyd had signalled a need to start the reform with pre-schoolers, and that has been a focus of his ministry - but does that mean we need to wait a generation for any improvement? Are we writing off those in regular schools in the meantime?
The minister’s absence when the results come out tells its own story. If this was a story of success, we imagine he might not be so reluctant to talk about it.
Instead, he’s nowhere to be seen at a time when he should be front and centre.
The people deserve a government that realises the significance improving our educational system. Your own words, Mr Lloyd, to stand by when the results aren’t so good as well as when they are. As Minister of Education, you are the foremost representative of government in this regard. Those within that educational system deserve your full attention.
Counting down the days
With Halloween out of the way, the stores will be quickly filled up with Christmas items, so here’s a suggestion. Go and pick up an advent calendar early, and start opening the doors on November 15.
Why then? Well, when you get to the last door, that will be the day when – if BPL’s promises come true – the nation’s power problems will be resolved.
Mid-December marks the time when the Wartsila engines are due to bring an extra 132MW of generation capacity on line.
The company yesterday said it is seeking to recruit 31 workers to operate the new engines – which seems a tight amount of time to find the right staff and train them – but surely we can trust in BPL’s word, can’t we? Well… we shall see.
We do fret a little to see Minister Desmond Bannister saying it will sort out “most” of the challenges. Not all? Oh dear. And we find it a little ironic that electrical workers were only told of Wartsila’s offer to hire 31 staff, 27 of them Bahamian, yesterday. It appears that BPL has left its staff – as it has so much of the country this year – in the dark.