EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
EDUCATION Minister Jeffrey Lloyd said he is satisfied with the national examination results in spite of the challenges COVID-19 brought to the process.
The results have not been released to the public yet.
“Yes, I am very satisfied with the results all things considered as you would expect there were fewer numbers who took the exams that had been registered and that’s for any number of reasons,” Mr Lloyd said yesterday.
“Certainly, the COVID experience would’ve been primary about that and when you look at the results of those who took the exams, we are very satisfied, all things considered, with the performance of our students this year.”
The exams were postponed earlier this year due to the pandemic.
He added: “It’s been a challenging and difficult year as you know. In fact, for The Bahamas, it’s been a difficult year and a half beginning with Dorian of September 2019 and this is why it’s so important for us to see how we best we can immediately resume face-to-face instructions in New Providence and Abaco, where together some 30,000 students receive their instructions and you know that’s a very large portion of the 46,000 students that make up the public sector education.”
Asked yesterday if the public can expect to see national exams take place in their usual timeframe next year, the minister replied: “Our Cambridge evaluators and assessors are right now and have been for the last several months making every effort to secure our exams on time. As you know, our exams usually start at the end of the March and go all the way into the middle of May. Yes, we are in the process right now with the Cambridge assessor to ensure that that is accomplished.”
Yesterday, Mr Lloyd also said he expects blended learning environments, with a mix of face-to-face instruction and other methods, in place in New Providence and Abaco public schools by February.
“As I indicated, we are planning for a February start or so of face-to-face and certainly those islands have been face-to-face,” he said. “It’s only Abaco and New Providence that have had to do virtual almost completely.
“But it is our intention that we would resume some form of face-to-face, probably the hybrid model as we discussed in the House of Assembly but it’s all again contingent upon approval by the Ministry of Health, but our plans are as soon as we are given the okay, we will begin face-to-face in New Providence and Abaco.
“Our students are desperate; the teachers are anxious and we are very happy to begin this process for the benefit of many students who learn best in that quality of environment.”
Meanwhile, more than a year after Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco, Mr Lloyd said renovations at Central Abaco Primary and Patrick J Bethel High School on the island are now complete.
“I am so happy to report to you that this morning Patrick J Bethel and the Central Abaco Primary schools – they are finished. They are completed. It is a joy to say what a gift the people of Abaco would receive, especially the Marsh Harbour area now that those two schools are completed. Everything is ready to go.”
The facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian last year, with costs projected to repair PJB high school alone at nearly $5m.
Mr Lloyd said Abaco students can look forward to going back to the classroom once the greenlight has been given for face-to-face learning for Abaco and New Providence.
Public schools across the country reopened on October 5, however, those in New Providence, Abaco and Eleuthera were only allowed to offer virtual learning. Some private schools on these islands have adopted a hybrid model, allowing virtual and on campus learning, while a few offer face-to-face learning.
An emergency order released earlier this month said schools can now operate with either virtual or face-to-face learning so long as the institution providing the latter service has been given permission from the Ministry of Education.