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Teachers Union President Calls For Educational Year To Be Repeated

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

After seeing the results of the country’s national examinations, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers Belinda Wilson is recommending that the Ministry of Education repeat the 2020 educational year and stop social promotion in schools.

The Ministry of Education issued a press release on Wednesday which stated that national exam results worsened in 2020 compared to 2019, with fewer students achieving A, B and C grades and more students receiving D, E, F and G grades compared to the year before.

The BUT president says the education system has continually failed the children of The Bahamas.

She said: “I strongly recommend that the Ministry of Education stop, review, cancel, pause and consider students having the opportunity to repeat the 2020 school year and that the social promotion practices cease forthwith. It is so sad, but true – the educational system has failed the children of this nation over and over and over.

“The results of the 2020 BJC and BGCSE National Examinations is not a surprise. From the onset I advocated for the sitting of the exams to be cancelled and that the students be awarded predicted grades. If this method was used, as it was used in the United Kingdom and in 160 countries and 10,000 institutions, then 100 percent of our students would have received grades.

“Then today, the Ministry of Education would not be lamenting the fact that the number of candidates that sat the exams was substantially lower than 2019.”

Ms Wilson is not hopeful that next year’s examination results will be any better than this year’s and blames a faulty learning platform, among other things, for the poor results.

She continued: “I contend that 2021 exam results will be even worse and participation even less than 2020, because the students this year have had so many interruptions with an inoperable and inadequate virtual platform, school started mid-October, the content and syllabus for the 2021 examination. Most schools are behind schedule.”

In its press release revealing the results of the examinations, the Ministry of Education stated that the total number of BJC grades awarded this year declined by 21.68 percent.

Ms Wilson continued: “The 30 percent of students, stated by the Ministry of Education, who never accessed the virtual platform, sadly equates to approximately 14,400 students. These are students in the public school system which means that the education gap has widened yet again. Students disadvantaged and the underachievers and or students from the lower socio-economic status again have been disenfranchised.

“So with these dismal results and the acknowledgement of the inadequacies of the virtual platform, I ask the following questions, what changes have been put in place to ensure that the 2021 exams will not be a repeat of 2020? What policies will be adopted based on the data from these exam results?”

Ms Wilson also took to task the fact that the ministry’s press release said girls continued to outperform boys in the national exams, receiving higher percentages of A-C grade and lower percentages at E-U grades.

She said: “The results show that girls outperformed the boys. So what new programmes will be executed to assist boys? Will the Ministry of Education continue with the status quo? The rationale put forward by the Ministry of Education for continuing the sitting of the BJC and BGCSE examinations were the results were needed for jobs, the results were needed for colleges and universities.

“The rationale was flawed then and it’s flawed now. In fact, the students who received E, F and U grades will not get jobs and will not get accepted into colleges and universities with those grades. But I ask again, are there any plans for the students to retake these examinations under more conducive circumstances? I know that there are no plans for students to repeat the 2020 school year.”

She said her prayers and thoughts are with the children of The Bahamas and she said, “Lord deliver them from the hands of the visionless”.

Comments

moncurcool 3 months, 3 weeks ago

*She said: “I strongly recommend that the Ministry of Education stop, review, cancel, pause and consider students having the opportunity to repeat the 2020 school year and that the social promotion practices cease forthwith. It is so sad, but true – the educational system has failed the children of this nation over and over and over.

“The results of the 2020 BJC and BGCSE National Examinations is not a surprise. From the onset I advocated for the sitting of the exams to be cancelled and that the students be awarded predicted grades. If this method was used, as it was used in the United Kingdom and in 160 countries and 10,000 institutions, then 100 percent of our students would have received grades.*

The union president just continues to show why she is one of the biggest causes of failure to our education system. What has she done over the years to help make our education better? Can't name one thing.

Then she suggest that BGCSE exams grades be predicted? WTH? Is she serious. Predict what grade a child would get if they would sit an exam and then give them that grade without sitting the exam? Guess now why we see why our students are getting the D average. Nuff said. That's a merry christmas for you

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FrustratedBusinessman 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Much agreed. You can now see why society is in the state that it is in today.

I have never heard such foolishness in my life. Giving students the predicted grade will surely teach them the value of hard work lol.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Predicted doesn't mean you automatically pass. Predicted could be a bad thing, imagine if you were told, no notice, that nothing you do from this day matters and your reward is only based on what you've completed already.

Predicted is based on the work you completed. If you were a stellar student you get an A. If you goofed around for the first 2 semesters you fail. The student should have an option to attempt a final exam if they want, smart boys for example are known to goof around but coming out shining at exam time.

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ohdrap4 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Teachers are experts in giving predicted grades. Predicted grades are given in proportion to gifts awarded by parents. Most notably in the primary schools where there is no BJC to keep anyone honest.

In the private schools teachers are routinely fired if they do not award passing grades. Most dole out so called gentleman Cs. Even that is a problem , as grade inflation is happeming nowadays.

Employers are growing wary of so many useless degrees, including bull sheet doctorates in education and business.

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TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

When all hope disappears justify the keeping colonialists' schools around. The colony's education minister Comrade Jeff reappears. Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not?

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trueBahamian 3 months, 3 weeks ago

As a person representing educators Ms. Wilson should help to.come up with solutions to the problem. Educators are on the frontline. So, they should have ideas. It's not helpful to anyone to just criticize.

With regards to the poor performance compared to prior years, Helen Keller could see this coming. Covid-19 along with a terrible plan for virtual learning, did a number on the students. I don't understand how children in the public school system can survive. Some of them come from very low income households with no tablets and/or access to the internet. Given the economic downturn some of them live in homes where the electricity would be disconnected. So, how does a child in that scenario learn virtually. The Ministry of Education has to implement ideas that can reach persons in households with little to no income. Anything short of this is a national failure. What is really ridiculous is the children fell through the cracks while the government talked about a $20 million sidewalk project and giving money to small business owners. Just mindblowing!

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

No matter what happens 90% of these students will be disadvantaged. They would have missed instruction in some critical learning they will need to excel at the next level.

Either that or they will voluntarily repeat. The problem with repeating is, we een sure that's gonna work either. COVID os still here. These kids could lose 2 years. I guess the positive news is Bahamian kids tend to graduate at younger ages anyway.

What the govt should be planning is a reeducation program targeted mostly at those children who fell through the cracks. Get them interested in what they "could" be. Get them dreaming. Stop this pretending that everything went well and we did a wonderful job substituting virtual learning. Mr Lloyd said he's "pleased". No, we have a problem. Nobody caused it, but let's fix it.

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SP 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I totally agree with Belinda Wilson's recommendation that the Ministry of Education repeat the 2020 educational year and stop social promotion in schools!

Even I had enough foresight to recommended here several times that the school year should be totally canceled until some form of normalcy returned.

Only an ideological fool could possibly think children could adapt to online learning under the duress of a pandemic, lockdowns, parental upheavals, food shortages, etc, etc, etc. It is unfair to expect children to perform under such stressful situations.

The first thing education minister Jeff Lloyd should have done in March would have been to contact Belinda Wilson to strategize the way forward through the pandemic. It may have been obvious that the school year is canceled.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lloyd fell victim to the "know it all syndrome" that immediately affects our MP's on election night, and the countries children have suffered undue added stress for his lack of humility and common sense!

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

As the new 2021 year approaches think about the change still possible reach in which folk in life's road our colony's youth takes? Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not?
- Court Cam: Judge recognizes Defendant -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRx0...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRx0...

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OMG 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why does Belinda not object to hiring of Cuban teachers when there are often suitably qualified residents living in the Bahamas. So often Cuban teachers have difficulty speaking understandable English, have no loyalty to the system, do not spend or fully interact with the local community and realise that there is no comeback should they not perform becausethey will be returning back to |Cuba laden with electronics etc. This is not a total answer to the present situation but does have an effect on the overall results from students.

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tribanon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Perhaps you, Minnis and Lloyd can explain why the average Cuban student in Cuba's public education system is receiving a much superior quality of education compared to the average Bahamian student in The Bahamas public education system. And there's an abundance of well qualified Cuban teachers who speak fluent English and would be only too happy to make The Bahamas their new home.

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