Tuesday, January 14, 2020
By Earyel Bowleg
BAHAMAS Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson said the Ministry of Education’s decision not to reschedule BJC exams in the wake of Hurricane Dorian will likely have a negative impact on the results.
She also said the union has not been aware of any additional classes being organised by the Ministry of Education to make up for lost school days due to the storm.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd recently reported to the media that classes would be held on the weekends and holidays to make up for class time lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian as rescheduling of BGCSE exams was not possible. At the time, he said a final decision had not been made for the BJC exams.
However, Mrs Wilson insisted it was a “mistake” not to adjust the examination dates for the students taking BJC exams in grade nine, stating they “could have easily been taken in grade 10”.
“Yes, BGCSE examination results are needed for graduation and college matriculation but if the exam results are ‘poor’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ or if the grades are below standard because of insufficient contact hours, (not completing the) syllabus, or because the course work was not done, then the overall results/the national examination results 2020 would be worse than previous years.
“Anyone can manage and continue the status quo but true leadership derives different strategies in times like this. Unfortunately, education in the aftermath or post hurricane Dorian months have not devised any new ideas.”
She added: “How can examination results improve when there are teacher shortages on top of the fact that there was a devastating hurricane? So, not rescheduling or amending the examinations dates or changing the examination dates is just one in a series of nonsensical decisions that education officials have made, many of which is to the detriment of our nation’s children.”
Mrs Wilson expressed concerns about schools in Abaco and its cays that are “not fully operational”; generators being used for electricity at “makeshift schools” that frequently run out of gas; students in Abaco who want to go school but have no transportation; teachers “enduring hardship” to provide education to hundreds of students on the island; and children who have not been in school since Hurricane Dorian.
The union is still awaiting information on how many students were in Abaco and how many of them are enrolled in schools throughout the country. The BUT also wants information about the whereabouts of Abaco students who lived in shanty towns and the “short, medium and long term” plans for school restoration in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
She added: “I sincerely hope that I see the day when education is operated in a manner that is for the betterment of our students and for them to succeed and reach their full potential and not for politicians to add to their resume and supporters, family members and friends be promoted into positions because of seniority or next but because of competence, passion and effectiveness. I await the examination results for 2020 — the decision not to reschedule more than likely will have a negative impact.”