Search results for : BGCSE

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News Article
Arguably one of the brightest minds
August 07, 2013
Arguably one of the brightest minds

Shannon Butler is arguably one of the brightest minds to graduate high school this year, and it shows in the fact that he has amassed $146,000 in scholarship funds to pursue his educational dream of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.

The Queen's College graduate was recently named the 19th recipient of the All Bahamas Merit Scholar, and awarded a four-year $140,000 scholarship, after being named the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's 2013 valedictorian and awarded a $6,000 scholarship...

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News Article

August 21, 2013
Union president: Results can only improve if teacher supervision improves

THE results of standardised exams like the BGCSE can only improve if teacher supervision improves, Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson said...

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News Article

August 24, 2012
Purpose of education

Dear Editor,
Earlier this month, the Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald announced this year's BGCSE and BJC exam results. The Nassau Guardian's headline read, "Dismal exam scores continue". Dismal might be an understatement. The results were abysmal.

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News Article
Govt signs contract for six-classroom block at Spanish Wells All Age School
August 15, 2011
Govt signs contract for six-classroom block at Spanish Wells All Age School

The Bahamas government signed a $1,192,651 contract with Garvin Neilly of St. George's Cay Construction Company to construct a six-classroom block addition to he Spanish Wells All-Age School, Wednesday, August 10.

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News Article

December 16, 2011
Education, failed culture and inspiration

It was important that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham took time to greet 12-year-old Anna Albury outside of the House of Assembly while she visited Parliament in the summer.  The girl, who is blind, was recently crowned Primary School Student of the Year over 115 candidates from around the country.
"I am like just any other child. I do not look at myself as having a disability. I just happen to be blind," said the sixth grader from Hope Town School on receiving the award.
Fully blind from birth, Anna could have been placed in the School for the Blind, but her parents Theresa and Lambert Albury insisted that she be raised 'normally' with other children. They wanted her to do well.
With their encouragement and the support of her teachers and classmates, Anna has maintained an outstanding 3.8 cumulative grade point average.
Here in New Providence in our public school system many children with two working eyes, two working ears, two working legs and two working arms are not doing nearly as well as Anna. And they benefit from a free education through grade 12.
The national D average in the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams masks the tremendous lack of achievement in our public school system. If the private schools are taken out of that calculation, our public school system would be in the F average range. No nation can be great with that level of underachievement.
Many blame the government of the day and the education bureaucracy for not doing more to reform the public education system. Certainly, there is more that can be done on the policy and funding sides of the equation to reform our system. However, a major part of the education problem in this country is our culture. Governments and civil servants cannot make Bahamian parents and guardians care about education.
Too many parents do not demand enough from their children. Too many Bahamians simply do not value the free education that is offered.
Concerned parents, relatives and guardians are crucial catalysts to success when it comes to educational achievement. When families care about education and hold children to standards, those children do better. When families only care about proms and making sure children are dressed in the trendiest clothes at the beginning of the school year, those children do not do as well.
Our culture has assumed too much of the foolish commercial nonsense from the two cultural centers we are between - the United States and Jamaica. Knowledge of the latest rap or dancehall song is high, while the literacy and numeracy levels are low in The Bahamas.
We must do better.
Education is not merely about being prepared for the job market. It is about being a reasoned human being able to understand and function independently in the community you live in.  It is also about being able to participate in the development and governance of that society in many different ways.
Too many Bahamians are too comfortable being uneducated.  Too many Bahamians are too comfortable raising uneducated children.  This must change.
What is especially problematic about this situation is that the free education system through grade 12 was something that was fought for.
The first black government of The Bahamas in 1967 had as its mandate ensuring that all Bahamians had access to education.  In the ensuing decades schools were built across the country.  Now, 44 years later, many of the parents and children who are the heirs to that movement show little interest in knowledge, learning and achievement.
Ignorant people are always ruled by smarter people. A people cannot be independent if they are dumb.
Bahamians must stop making excuses when it comes to learning and achievement. Yes, education reform is needed.  But what is equally needed is concern about learning and knowledge by our people.  A father who is not smart should, and can, have as a goal ensuring that his children do better than he did.
He can ensure that his children behave in school and do the work assigned; he can participate in the school's Parent Teacher Association; he can seek tutoring for his children to ensure they have the technical assistance he cannot provide.
Anna Albury, a blind girl from a small school in the Family Islands, is doing well.  She is inspirational.  Born with a disadvantage, she still excels.
Mothers, fathers, relatives and guardians across The Bahamas must do more to ensure that their well-bodied children do better and take advantage of the opportunities given to them.  We must care more about education and learning to ensure that we, Bahamians, have the capacity to govern ourselves and to command every sector of our economy.

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News Article
Christie says social promotion in schools must end
August 14, 2012
Christie says social promotion in schools must end

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday it is important that schools avoid social promotion.

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News Article

August 10, 2012
We must become more service oriented

Company: Front office manager, British Colonial Hilton

Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?

Andrew: I started work in the field of hospitality in 1991 on the front desk at the Casuarinas Hotel on West Bay Street. I then moved to The Sheraton Grand Hotel on Paradise Island in 1992 until 1999, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the team at the Hilton Hotel downtown.
Within my present role I am responsible for the front desk, concierge, valet, pool, beach and gym and the executive lounge, which hosts our top tier guests.

GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?

Andrew: The various daily activities are very exciting. Everyday brings new challenges and the opportunity to meet people from around the world. No two days are the same, especially when working along with people from various cultures and backgrounds.

GB: What has been your most memorable moment?

Andrew: I have had so many, from meeting royalty (most recently Prince Harry) and celebrities, to being selected to work in Minneapolis to work for Hilton, to administering CPR to a child that had a coin lodged in her throat. Overall, the hotel industry has been very good to me.

GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?

Andrew: The industry has changed drastically; guests are much more knowledgeable about the product and services and aspects of the daily operation have truly evolved into a science from a revenue standpoint. Overall, customer service is very demanding and we have had to rise to the challenge in order to remain competitive.

GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?

Andrew: We as a country must become more service oriented. I feel that we have strayed away from a true service culture and must focus on regaining this. As our number one industry, training needs to be introduced earlier in high school education in order to groom those that wish to become tourism professionals. The establishment of a BGCSE in hospitality would be great! Also, due to the high operating cost locally, there should be further concessions, especially to smaller branded hotels in order to attract them to us.

GB: What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?

Andrew: Stay focused on your goals and try to gain a strong educational base and work on your language skills. Work and interact with as many people as possible in order to help you decide if you have skill of working along with people. Be patient but aggressive and take on any opportunities for advancement that may come your way.

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News Article

August 10, 2012
Improving the quality of teaching

As we continue to digest the dismal results of the national exams released by the Ministry of Education earlier this week, and its implications for the future development of our nation, we are reminded of the importance of good teaching in school.
In the BGCSE, the average grade for English Language was a D. The average grade for Mathematics was E+. The average grades in many other subjects were not much better. The fact that these results marked an improvement offers little consolation.
Thursday's editorial focused on education reform in general. Our focus today is the quality of teaching in our public school system.
There are many excellent teachers in the system who have dedicated their lives to the education of generations of young Bahamians. Through mastery of their subject matter as well as a passion for imparting this knowledge, these teachers have contributed significantly to national development.
Today, many teachers find themselves in the position of having to act as surrogate parents for students whose home lives are extraordinarily difficult.
The range of disciplinary problems confronted by teachers makes an already challenging profession even more difficult.
However, the quality of much of the teaching in our public schools is poor and weak.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, responding to the national exam results, told The Nassau Guardian's News Editor Candia Dames that a "new culture" for learning is needed if we are to improve student performances in the most basic areas.
"Year in and year out we talk the same talk and [get] the same results... We have to make a major, major effort to break through to where we ought to be because it's so necessary to the future of the country," the prime minister said.
A part of that "new culture" Prime Minister Christie is referring to must include re-thinking how teachers teach if our students are to improve their scores, and more importantly reach their full potential.
The standard system of learning used in traditional schools is no longer sufficient. It reaches only a certain segment of students and does little to encourage creativity and critical thinking.
Teachers must make learning exciting, interesting, motivating and relevant.
Two programs that education officials might learn from, that have been shown to engage teachers and students and transform schools, are the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Expeditionary Learning (EL) systems.
The IB program provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. In New Providence, St. Andrew's School and Lyford Cay School are IB schools.
The EL program provides a model that challenges students -- even those starting with low skill levels -- with high-level tasks and active roles in the classroom. Students focus upon the real world application of standards-based content.
Programs such as these create the necessary skills to compete in this knowledge-based globalized world.
One of the planks in the Progressive Liberal Party's campaign platform was its promise to double the investment in education. If Prime Minister Perry Christie is serious about creating a new culture in learning, this increased investment could go a long way in providing the necessary resources to reform public education.
There is much work to be done, and a change in teaching will not happen overnight, but it can begin on a smaller scale, perhaps starting with a pilot program in one of the public schools.
Improving the quality of teachers is just a part of the answer.
More discussion on the improvement of teaching in our primary and secondary schools is needed. One of the toughest battles Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald may have to fight is the development of a more rigorous protocol for teacher evaluation.
This includes better assessment of the productivity and overall performance of teachers, using a range of transparent and fair metrics.
For successful reform of public education, tackling this complex and potentially thorny issue will require deft politics and public support. The Bahamas Union of Teachers will also have to be onboard.
The campaign to improve the quality of teaching in our public school system must be joined by the public at large. This is critical if those battling for reform are to have any chance of success.

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News Article

August 03, 2011
Soaring Comets

One of the hottest topics today is the seemingly "out-of-control" murder count that soared to 85 over the Emancipation holiday weekend with a triple murder, coupled with the many other ills that are taking place in society, most of them done by males in most instances. With the focus usually placed on the negative, the bright, shining stars that are the country's future almost seem to get overshadowed. But five young males refuse to let that pall of negativity win out. Miguel Cartwright, Carlyle Bethel, Runako Aranha-Minnis, Aravind Chenrayan Govindaragu and Dimitri Duncombe, members of Queen's College 2011 graduating class have all had the distinction of being named AP Scholars. They sat at least three AP examinations each, and received an average score of three or above.

Advanced Placement courses give students the opportunity to take college level courses while in high school which proves their readiness for college. They are exposed to college level material which facilitates their transition into institutions of higher learning and earn college credit. Only students who have completed just about all of their Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE) in Grade 11 and have received A and B grades are generally permitted into AP classes. Students at Queen's College have to receive their Bahamians qualifications first before any other external examination.

Queen's College has been offering AP subjects for seven years. They began with just two courses, and now the selection has grown to eight. Courses offered are English Language and Composition, Psychology, History, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Calculus AB, Human Geography and Biology.

Bethel who sat three AP examinations scored a three in Microeconomics, a four in Psychology and a three in Human Geography. They are scores he's really proud of.

"It's good to know that I could take college courses a year early while still in high school and do well," said Bethel who is heading off to the University of Connecticut to study banking and finance. "It helps me a lot to know that I'm going to college prepared and also it provides me the opportunity to get college credits early and avoid taking these same courses in college, so [I] save a lot of money, actually about $3,000 per course."

He credits the staff at Queen's College for preparing the AP students to achieve the success they did.

"Actually, Q.C. did a wonderful job in facilitating us and giving us the resources and teachers to teach us the stuff. With the amazing teachers that we had, it was definitely easy. Teaching is a calling, and students can't do it without the teachers," says Bethel. "And Q.C. does a wonderful job in training their teachers, and actually selecting teachers to love their students and nurture them. And the administration [staff] helped to push us. They would come to the class and check on us and they really pushed us to do good, so it felt like our obligation to do good for the school because they did so much for us."

Bethel was also proud of the fact that the top five AP students were all male, considering the crisis the country now finds itself in.

"Many people like to say that the males aren't doing good in our country and are falling down, and the females are the only ones standing up and have to pick up where the males are falling down, but our year in Queen's College was very strong with male. At the graduation it was mainly males picking up the prizes, except for the valedictorian Karen Wert who did a wonderful job, but it was mainly males who cleaned up, and everyone was saying the males were dominating in our grade. The males in our grade were strong and it made me beyond happy to see that."

Queen's College vice principal and head of high school Shawn Turnquest was pleased with the AP results.

"Every year we receive at least one AP scholar and sometimes two, however, this year we were very pleased to learn that five of our students were named as AP scholars ... and all male students! They rank among the best in the world as only top students are given that distinction. We are so very very proud of them. We are aware of the hard work and the sacrifice they made to obtain those results. Most Bahamian students are not exposed to Calculus while in high school and struggle, particularly in this subject when they get to college. Taking AP calculus while in high school certainly helps with this. We are very proud when our students receive high scores in their AP exams as we then know that they will certainly soar when they get abroad, but it also affirms and validates the decision of the school. Our students, each year, return and tell us how well their Advanced Placement Courses have prepared them for university."

Turnquest said the students could not achieve what they did without putting in a tremendous amount of work and that the administrators and teachers continue to encourage all of their students daily, as they know they often need a boost to encourage them to persevere. She also congratulated the teachers of the high achieving students who she says obviously worked very hard to ensure that the students were prepared.

Aranha-Minnis sat four AP examinations and scored a five in Psychology, three in Language, three in Spanish and a one in Calculus. As he heads off to Emery University in Atlanta where he plans to study pre-med, he says his AP scores make it a little easier for him, because there are a few classes he won't have to take which will save him time.

Cartwright, who is heading off to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, scored a five in Biology, a five in Psychology, a three in Calculus and a one in Spanish says his scores reflect the efforts he put into his studies throughout his high school career, and he was ecstatic.

"My AP scores allow me to actually earn credits for some courses like Biology and Psychology, but taking the AP classes also prepared me well for courses that I still have to take like Calculus, because I did not score a high enough score because you need to score a four and above to earn credits for the course, so I still have to do Calculus over, but I'm still well prepared for the actual college course because I did the AP Calculus. And I'm actually pretty proud of those scores because I did not do pre-Calculus, I just did Calculus," said the graduate who plans to study Physiology in the Life Sciences program.

He also feels more schools should offer the AP program to students because the program offers students the opportunity to experience the difficulty of college level courses while still in high school before actually doing the courses in college.

"They get to earn credits so they don't have to do the courses in college," said Turnquest. "AP exams challenge students and gives them the opportunity to see what they can actually do, and gives them an idea of how well they will do in the future."

Turnquest believes other schools should consider offering AP subjects to their highly motivated and above average students. She also says to offer AP courses, all teachers must be AP trained for the course to be AP accredited which can be a rather hefty cost to the school. Over the years, she says Queen's College has ensured that their teachers receive AP training during the summer months.

AP examinations are given a score of one to five with one being the lowest and five the highest. Many colleges will give college credit for any score of three or higher. Top tier schools, including Ivy League schools, prefer scores of four or higher.

Advanced Placement courses give students the opportunity to take college level courses while in high school which prove their readiness for college, gives them an opportunity to expose themselves to college level material which facilitates their transition into college and earn college credit.

Turnquest said the five young men who have attained AP Scholar status all showed that they loved to learn. She described them as highly motivated young men who were well-respected by their teachers and peers. Bethel was the mastermind behind the club, QC 5000 that fed the homeless during the course of his final year at the institution.

Cartwright was one of the top students in the country, last year, having received eight "A" grades as an eleventh grade student. He has also written a television series that has already been filmed. Duncombe was one of the last modern language cadet winners who did a summer language immersion program.

Aranha-Minnis and Govindaraju (who has returned to India for university) both received the highest scores in the country in at least one and possibly two Bahamas Junior Certificates and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education subjects.

STUDENTS WITH THE HIGHEST SCORE IN AT LEAST ONE EXAMINATION

Miguel Cartwright
Araving Chenrayan Govindaraju
Leah Hayling
Karen Wert
Natalia Adderley
Runako Aranha-Minnis
Graeme Carey

STUDENTS RECEIVING A SCORE OF FOUR

Graeme Carey
Wenchantia Rigby
Karen Wert
Natasha Longley
Maria Phillip
Abhiram Ramesh
Annee Wildgoose
Dionne Almira
Carlyle Bethel
Prince Blyden
Marcia Charlow
Jason Glinton
Kenrick Hart
Kunai Sharma

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News Article

November 28, 2011
National Profile: Dr. Gail Saunders

Dr. Gail Saunders has done a huge service to The Bahamas through her invaluable research into Bahamian history over the years.  Her desire to uncover and preserve Bahamian history taps into an inherent desire many feel to know where they came from in order to better understand who they are -- a passion, she feels, is hardly being shared by Bahamians today.

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