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THE Ministry of Education, Science and Technology claims an article and photos which appeared in The Tribune on Tuesday misrepresented the current state of the Colonel Hill High School in Crooked Island.
Nassau, Bahamas - Teachers and students from the
St. Mary Patricia Jr. High School,
Freeport, Grand Bahama paid a courtesy call on Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes
Friday, February 25, at Government House....
Nassau, Bahamas -
Teachers and Students from Carmichael Primary School are pictured with
Governor-General Sir.Arthur Foulkes (standing, front row), during a
courtesy call at Government House on Friday, January 14, 2011...
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
LEONARDO Forbes could be the new name to watch out for on the local high school distance running scene.
Forbes, a 17-year-old 12th grader at Zion Christian Academy, emerged to the forefront when he captured the under-20 boys division of the CH Reeves' 19th annual Cross Country Championships, upsetting race favourite Audley Carey Jr of St Augustine's College.
The South Andros native won the three-lap race around the course at Fort Charlotte in 17 minutes and 11.47 seconds with Carey Jr coming through in 17:13.05. Third place went to Ashley Whylly of CR Walker in 18:52.00.
"I went out with Oneil Williams, but he ...
Chances are, if you asked the average Bahamian high school student about Bahamian writers, they may be able to count how many they know on one hand. The widespread ignorance about our rich literary heritage is caused by a number of factors - most of all, education - but The College of The Bahamas (COB) is actively working to foster a love of literature once more through their Meet the Writer series.
Held once a semester, the Meet the Writer series brings established and emerging Bahamian writers in a wide range of practices to COB students and the Bahamian public to share their work.
Coordinator of the program and COB Associate Professor in English Literature Shaniqua Higgs says the program allows students to interact with writers they have been learning about in class. For many student writers themselves, the chance to meet those who have inspired them is exciting - and since the event is open to the public, everyone is invited to attend and learn more about our nation's storytellers and understand the importance of literature.
"I think the college should be leading the way in putting on events like this because it has a mandate to educate a nation," says Higgs. "I think that we often look abroad for intellectual stimulation and we ignore talented writers and artists in The Bahamas - we have a lot of them but they are not given recognition. It's a shame because literature in general is an important means to stimulate the mind."
"Humanities are being undervalued and some students tell me they didn't have to take literature in high school," she adds. "But then how do you develop appreciation for the arts? How do you become a critical thinker and a person who knows how to reason, to respect differences, to love reading? Literature is so important for its cultural value and for what it can teach us."
For this semester's Meet the Writer event on February 28, two poets - Obediah Michael Smith and Nicolette Bethel - will launch their most recent books by sharing selected pieces with the audience.
In "Discovery Daze", Obediah Michael Smith's 15th book of poetry, the prolific poet meditates on Bahamian life, making everyday objects and routines magical again as he finds art everywhere he looks in his Kemp Road neighborhood.
Readers may notice, however, the absence of his signature tongue-in-cheek poems - for Smith, the book is a response to the complaint that his poems often use inappropriate language and deal with adult subject matter. In his experience, it's the reason behind the exclusion of his work from school studies at home - despite the fact that he reads these same poems to high school students in other countries with no resistance.
"I've never been included in the local school literary canon and I don't know if it is my fault or their fault, but I want to rectify the situation," says Smith. "I've been included and celebrated internationally - in Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, in various regional anthologies - so why not at home?"
"I read to schoolchildren in these other countries I visit and they tell me adult subject matter does not matter - what mattered is that the work was good," he says. "So what is it about those places and this place? Why have they made me so self-conscious about what a work can contain and what you can put before students?"
"Discovery Daze" may be a book about which there can be no complaint when it comes to schoolchildren, but at what cost? For Smith, the whole exercise is counterintuitive - not only to his own creative practice which draws inspiration from all life, but to the very notion itself of preserving innocence in readers who live in the information age where everything is exposed and exploited.
"What is so shocking about that is when three o'clock rolls around and children are coming from this primary school up the road from me, they are using every manner of language," he says. "So is it that group of students we are trying to protect?"
"How well does this attitude we have protect them from what we think they are supposed to be innocent of?" he continues. "It has not worked, it does not work, and it is not working. It's a lie as well, because we are trying to suggest that they are not exposed to what they are definitely exposed to and I think that it's a question of including for them all that is life and showing them how it's beautiful and what it means."
Reading alongside Smith is COB lecturer Nicolette Bethel. Though known for her essays and plays expounding on Bahamian cultural life, Bethel writes poetry about the more personal aspects of her life and family history that many Bahamians can relate to.
Her first book of poetry, "Mama Lily and the Dead", published in 2010 by Poinciana Paper Press, recounts the tragedies faced by her resilient grandmother and extended family. In her new collection that she will launch at Meet the Writer, "Lent/Elegies", Bethel explores grief and meditates on the passing of time to come to terms with the death of her mother, Dr. Keva Bethel, through the "sevenling" poetic form.
"My approach to poetry is that it is a craft. I came to poetry really in the beginning to master all the nuances of English for the purposes of writing prose, and then I stuck with it," explains Bethel. "But it's always been about craft and it's been really challenging and exciting craft because you're using these constraints to express what it is you're trying to say."
"As a writer, my poems are about death. They all deal with that theme," she adds. "In these poems, I had no thought about the audience - the audience is myself. If I got them to where I was while I was writing them, that's all they can be."
Bethel published "Lent/Elegies" in a somewhat revolutionary way. In the Internet age, our understanding of books has changed as we explore digital platforms for storytelling. Whereas many writers and publishers scoff at the idea, Bethel embraces it. In 2007, she launched an online-only literary magazine "tongues of the ocean" and maintains several blogs. "Lent/Elegies" has been published through a "nanopress" online, free for anyone with Internet access to enjoy, so that the website is the book itself - though it is still available as a hard copy through Lulu.com and as an e-book.
"Internet has changed us. It changes the way we think, the way we look at and live in the world," says Bethel. "Publishing is resisting because publishing is firmly anchored in the print world and the print world is passing away."
"It's hard to challenge the idea that print changed the world - the ability to free thought, to multiply it, to master it. It created revolutions," she continues. "But that's the age we're living in now because of the Internet - revolutions and shifts are happening. People who have the same thoughts and the same experiences can communicate with each other not matter where they are on the planet, at no cost, they don't have to know each other, and that's never been able to happen before."
Indeed Bahamian writers are launching extraordinary projects, their work reaching and being celebrated by global viewers - it is high time the public took notice.
o These two literary giants will launch their respective new books through "Meet the Writer" at 6 p.m. on February 28 on the second floor of Chapter One. It is free and open to the public.
The biggest concern for parents and educators during the summer months is that students do not lose everything they learned over the course of the previous school year, so for many people, ensuring that students keep their noses in their books during the break is essential. But there are those people who believe that hitting the books at all times isn't all that it's cracked up to be. They believe education comes in many forms and that book work should be supplemented with creative outlets that allow students to be able to express themselves.
This is why the 306 campers that attended the Central Division Police Summer Camp were encouraged to do more than just stick to their books over the summer. Organizers of the annual activity-based summer program say that excelling in life is not always about being focused academically. They say that sometimes for students to be the best they can be, they need to be pushed into honing natural abilities and technical skills.
It is with this value system in mind that many campers flocked to the fun-based camp.
For 12-year-old Rodesha Brown, who described herself as quiet and a person who doesn't always say what she would like to say, being in a camp where she got to use her hands was a perfect fit. While she has managed fine academically, she said she felt a greater sense of purpose and interest in the crafts she made during the summer program.
"I really like that I can express myself in different ways at the police camp," she said. "I like learning to do crafts like making picture frames and sewing. It's fun and something I never knew about before," she said.
And 18-year-old Miguel Neely found his niche through working with his hands. He admitted to not being the smartest academically, but said he felt useful when he used his hands to make things. And during the camp he taught the younger campers to make jewelry boxes as well as how to draw human faces.
"I'm really glad that I have been a part of this camp. I'm learning how to get along better with other students and younger children. I'm learning more about arts and crafts which I always loved but never really put my all into. I am really inspired just being here," he said.
The four-week camp which will end on Wednesday, August 8 focused on not only keeping students on top of their academics, by having specific periods times when students brought their schoolwork from the previous school to review it, but the camp also provided an outlet for the campers to express themselves creatively.
"We want to foster children who can do well on different fronts," said Sergeant 2212 Berkley Johnson, coordinator of the summer camp. "Not every student is academically talented, so it was important for us to encourage them to exhibit their skills in other areas as well. We have so much for the youth to do from day to day like sports, crafts, academics and field trips. We try to keep everything interesting so students don't get bored and actually learn something they can use for school later in the year or for the rest of their life. We are here to do more than just have fun and play games."
And it showed in Andrea Hanna, who said the camp helped to improve her positive characteristics.
"Everyone used to tell me that I didn't have a pleasant attitude or anything before, but when I came to the camp and listening to the police officers I have learned how to be a better person by respecting people, listening to adults and being honest and obedient. It's not easy but I feel everything the teachers and police officers are telling us makes sense," said the 14-year-old.
For 11-year-old Larissa Rolle the camp is about new experiences. According to her there were so many projects that she wasn't able to participate in half of them. She said she learned something new every day she was there. And she was fascinated to learn rug making and sewing. The reality of having so many options made attending the camp something she looked forward to every day.
While some children looked forward to the extracurriular activities, Torianno Rolle, a 12-year-old student at Oakes Field Primary School, said he was happy he was able to review his sixth grade academics as he prepared for junior school. He also enjoyed his new experiences.
"I am having so much fun," said Rolle. "I can study old things and learn about new things. I'm making a rug now and it's great. I like that I get to do so much at one camp. I wish school could be like this. I'm really having a good time this summer," he said.
While the younger students went about their craft projects and brushed up academically, many of the older campers between the ages of 13 and 17 were sent out to learn about life in the real working world at business establishments. It is hoped that the new feature would teach students to be appreciative of what their parents go through, as well as build their work ethnic and sense of responsibility.
Campers are looking forward to their final day when an arts and crafts exhibition will be staged at the National Arts Theater on Friday, August 3, for all divisions of the police summer program. It's there where their family and friends can view all that they've done.
WEST GRAND BAHAMA, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie used himself as an example to show graduating students how they can move beyond failures and disappointments and still go on to achieve success.
Dwayne Higgins, Principal of the Eight Mile Rock High School, invited the Prime Minister to give the keynote address at the 2012 Commencement Exercise in the school's gymnasium Thursday, June 14, 2012.
Also in attendance at the graduation was Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini and Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Melvin Seymour, and other senior government officials.
Prime Minister Christie told the 70 graduates, "I was never expected to go to university, because somewhere when I was 13 or 14, I was expelled from the Government sponsored high school, Government High School, on the basis that I did not reach the standard the school would accept as worthy of someone being able to go from the second form to the third form.
The final school bell has tolled for all school aged kids whether they are in the public or private sector and it's time to "veg out" -- or at least that's what many students may think. The seemingly endless days of summer may finally be officially here but educators at all levels of education say while it is good for students to enjoy their break it does not mean that all they learnt during the school year should just go out the window.
Educators say summer break is the best time to catch up on leisurely reading that students didn't get to engage in due to school work, the perfect opportunity to review old assignments they may have struggled with and have the time to better understand where they went wrong and research topics they are likely to encounter in the upcoming academic year. Simply put -- summer break they say has more potential than just being the season of endless beach days or becoming a "couch potato" in front of the television. They say it is the perfect opportunity to assist your child in becoming a well prepared student who will lead the pack in the next school year.
PRIMARY SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
Kristan Burrows, a first grader teacher at Claridge Primary School, says the worse thing a parent can do during the summer break is to relax all sense of discipline or academic rigidity so their kids can have unhindered fun.
"Kids need a break and they should enjoy themselves during the break I agre, but please do not let them have so much fun that academics and all they learnt through the school year goes down the drain," says the educator. Kids, especially those in primary school who are still forming their academic foundation, need an extra push so they stay fresh and the information they have learnt is retained and applied. So putting them in a summer school that has some focus on Math and English is important."
Burrows says it is amazing how much primary school-aged children will remember if they do simple assignments on a regular basis throughout the break. My school [Claridge Primary School] has a special book that we advise parents to buy for their kids for the summer called Summer Fit. It allows the students at every grade level to review subjects covered in the previous year and explore new ones that they will have in the coming year. They have little assignments to do after each topic and it's fun. Just finishing a book like that can do wonders just to keep kids on the go mentally throughout the summer."
She also suggests parents encourage their young children to enjoy learning by letting them choose a book they want and letting them read it aloud. Instead of watching television aimlessly all day she says you should ensure they watch some educational programs and that you question them about what they learn and like or didn't like about it. If they are older kids, she says they can do book reports or reviews to ensure they are comprehending what they read and watch. And rather than letting them play games on the latest video game console, Burrows urges parents to get their children to use the internet to play interactive educational games. She says this will not only entertain and educate the children but will also assist in improving their computer literacy as well.
"There is so much that parents can do to ensure their kids do well academically. As teachers we cannot do everything. We need support and we need parents to be behind their children even more than we are so what we teach is consistent in the home and retained as well. It's pointless to work all semester with the kids and they do well, only for summer to come and their foundation falls apart because they have no support or do not build on it. [Children] not being up to par academically during the summer often means teachers have to back track a whole lot more than they should be doing to reteach a concept kids should already know when September comes around again. This can be avoided if parents chip in."
JUNIOR SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
C.H. Reeves Junior School Language and Literature teacher Hallnika Bodie is also of the view that students should not fully neglect their studies just because it's summer break, but to use the weeks off school to improve academically and socially.
"[Parents] can make it easier on them by keeping them in a routine much like they had during the year. Especially at this stage, grades seven through nine, students are preparing to take the Bahamas Junior Certificate [BJC] and they will need to be focused in order to do well," says Bodie.
She says summer break is the perfect time for parents to go to the Ministry of Education's Testing and Evaluation Center on Harrold Road to get copies of older exams so students can do them as a means of studying and preparation. Ensuring they go through their old notes especially for Math and English throughout the break for a few hours she says a day is a good way to keep them on their toes especially in the last few weeks leading up to school reopening.
The Language and Literature teacher also says allowing your children to keep a journal of their experiences helps build their writing skills immensely.
Bodie is also big on allowing children to get a lot of rest during the summer months after a hectic school year. She says allowing them to stay up late is okay a few times a week, but to always ensure that they get to bed at a reasonable hour so that they can be physically and mentally rested during the break as well. She says students who are allowed to do whatever they want, and don't get enough sleep regularly tend to be unproductive and still drained by the time school reopens.
The educator says to help your child develop more socially don't just send them to any old camp, but enroll them in camps where they can participate in character-building summer programs like Vacation Bible camps, police camp, maritime camp and rangers summer camps which allows them to be team members, but to study skills and learn responsibility.
Bodie urges parents to use the summer break to get to know their children as well and expose them to life experiences.
"It's not just about getting back on track with school but reforming your relationship as well," says the educator. "Doing things like going to dinner, to the zoo, to a Family Island, a museum, visiting national sites or whatever else you can find fun to do together is a good thing to do because it makes them more worldly. This means when students go on field trips and meet new people during the school year they are adjusted and know how to react, they aren't out of their element and they can appreciate what they see more. They will have fun, experience different aspects of society and learn at the same time. These experiences are good for children to have and it makes the summer vacation a little more interesting."
HIGH SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
The key to an academically successful, well-adjusted high school student depends heavily on what is done at home during the long breaks away from the classroom says automechanics teacher Michael Clarke. He says it is important not to let your high-school aged child get lax in 5his studies and discipline and that keeping a level-head and a focus on academics even during the summer months is the best way to ensure your child excels in the next school year.
"First and foremost, parents need to be more vigilant and aware of what their kids are doing. Yes, it is the summer break, but kids still need to have guidance. Don't let them get too relaxed or assume they are doing what they should. Ensure they do make time to study twice a week or more so they stay fresh-minded. They need a break from the structured classroom setting but that doesn't mean learning stops. Ensure they are doing something academically and test them to make sure they are remembering what they learn. Parents need to draw the line and know that their children can have fun, but they still have to remember that they will have to face another school year and it is best to be prepared."
The eight-year automechanics teacher stresses that summer is a perfect time for parents to form a better relationship with their child's teachers as well. He says it would be a good idea to find out which teacher will be in charge of their child's class in the coming year and contact him/her to find out what he/she would advise as good summer reading in preparation for different classes.
If this is not an option, he says parents should then find out early from the school administration which books are required for their child's upcoming school year so they can be purchased as this gives your child time to read through his textbooks and familiarize himself with different concepts he will encounter in the next semester.
For children that have already selected class options, the teacher says it is a good idea to get books other than the required texts for him to read through so he has a wider understanding of the subject. He says fictional works that incorporate academic subjects are often entertaining and keep the mind fresh and creatively churning.
If your child is preparing for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations, Clarke says he should be using the break to study and do research on the topics, so putting their coursework together and preparing to take the exam is easier once the term begins.
"School does not have to be hard or a chore if your child learns
to love learning. As a parent it is just as important for you to find ways to get your child to want to learn even at home on breaks. Find ways for this passion to be incorporated in their lives. Take them to libraries and let them stay there to study for a while so they aren't home alone. They may not study, but they may just read a book that interests them. It's still reading and it can help to at least keep them engaged academically to some level. Go places with them instead of dumping them off to one place or the other since school is closed. Since these are older kids let them get a job in a field they like for the sake of experience instead of allowing them to just stay at home. They will get a taste of the real world and learn some responsibility as well. At the end of the day, just let your child experience more and use the summer break productively. It has a lot of potential and parents can help their children make the best of it with their support and guidance."
The graduates at the Rum Cay All-Age School Speech and Awards Day Ceremony ranging in age from kindergarten through ninth grade were lauded for their mission accomplished as they move on to the next phase of their educational lives.
Father Chester Burton, rector of St. Peter's Parish and St. Christopher, flew in from Long Island to address the graduates at the ceremony that took place at St. Christopher's Anglican Church, Port Nelson, Rum Cay, where he told the graduates that their mission as defined by Webster's Dictionary as a "job or task given to an individual to perform" and that accomplished which is defined as "established, expeditiously completed" was a done deal.
As they sought higher education, the priest reminded the graduates that as they gain knowledge and experience, to always remember that the island of Rum Cay needs them.
"Every day is a learning experience so it demands every student to reach for the stars and use their God-given talent to succeed in all aspects of their life," said Fr. Burton.
For the two young men (Javon Johnson, the salutatorian and Wilfred Kelly Jr. the valedictorian who received a lap top) graduating ninth grade and who were leaving their "mother's arms" to attend school in New Providence in September for the start of the new school year and high school, Fr. Burton reminded them to always put God first in everything they did.
The priest also reminded the graduates that in the religious aspect of their lives, that their true mission accomplished can never take place while they have life, health and breath in their lungs.
Fr. Burton was overcome with emotion during the ceremony as he watched the presentation presented by the pupils. And he told the students that their graduation was a testament to the institution led by school principal Ann Strachan, who single-handedly instructed students for national examinations like the Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) in third grade and the Rigby Read and Iowa Math, and the five Bahamas Junior Certificates (BJC) examinations that the ninth graders sat.
The priest told the graduates that they should feel honored and privileged just as students in New Providence do when they graduate and receive their various accolades.
During the ceremony the entire school participated and sang a rendition of R. Kelly's hit song "The World's Greatest."
With the graduation exercise, Strachan said she felt her mission was accomplished, as all events planned during the school year had been accomplished and that she viewed the ceremony as the "icing on the cake."
The top performing public high schools in New Providence only managed to average a D in national examinations, according to a report from the Ministry of Education.
The document also shows that New Providence private schools received an average of C- in the 2012 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams, compared to New Providence public schools, which received an average of D-.
C.I. Gibson, C. V. Bethel and C. R. Walker high schools each averaged a D in the BGCSE exams. They were the top performing schools on the public side.
Bahamas Home Schooling got an A- average on the private school side. However, only three exams were recorded for that school.
Lyford Cay School and South Haven Christian Academy received a B average, while Queen's College, St. Andrew's High and St. Augustine's College all received a B- average.
According to the report, Doris Johnson High, a public school, got an average of E+; PACE (a program for teen mothers) got an average of F and R. M. Bailey received an E average.
Of the eight public high schools in New Providence, three received a D average; three received a D- average; one received an E average and one received an E+ average.
As it relates to the private schools, the report shows that of the 36 institutions with recorded averages there was one A-; two Bs; three B-s; one C+; one C; five C-s; three D+s; two Ds; two D-s; six E+s; two Es; two E-s; four F+s; one F and one F-.
The worst performing private schools were Galilee Academy (F), and Pace Christian Academy (F-), according to the report.
The four private schools each averaging F+ were Discovery Learning, Freedom Baptist, Cherub Christian Academy and Akhepran.
As it relates to Family Island public schools, Abaco received a D- average; North Andros and the Berry Islands received a D- average; South Andros received a D average; Cat Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay received a D average; MICAL received a D- average; Eleuthera received a D+; Exuma and Ragged Island received a D average; Eastern Grand Bahama received a D average; Western Grand Bahama received a D; and Long Island received a C average.
The student population at St. John's College and L.W. Young Junior High School are richer for the civic efforts of Bahamas Ferries through the organization's "Discover Your Bahamas Student Educational Program" which donated computers to both institutions.
Bahamas Ferries donated computers to St. John's College and L.W. Young Jr. Schools, after students from both schools participated in the Bahamas Ferries "Discover Your Bahamas Student Educational Program". The donation was made recently during a reception on board the M/V Seawind.
St. John's College won the primary division and the school received two desktop computers and two color printers. This was the second consecutive year that St. John's College won in the Primary Division.
After the win St. John's senior mistress, Nyoka Bethel says Bahamas Ferries is like home for the students at St. John's, having traveled with the company on field trips to Eleuthera, Abaco and Andros, which she says has been a learning experience for students.
L. W. Young Jr. High School won the high school division and the school received three laptops and a desktop computer.
Schools must select sporting equipment, musical instruments or computers that will benefit the entire student body.
Bahamas Ferries' "Discover Your Bahamas Student Educational Program" was started in 2000. The educational field trips are designed to showcase the unique environment, history and culture of Abaco, Andros and Eleuthera. Since the program was rebranded in 2004, Bahamas Ferries has donated more than $50,000 to schools and in the past three years, taken over 14,000 students, teachers and parents on educational field trips to the Family Islands.
The educational field trips provides the practical application to what is being taught in the classroom thereby bringing text book to life as students have the opportunity to explore wetlands, visit a pineapple farm or study the nesting habits of the Abaco parrot. The day-away and overnight field trips have been developed based on the government and private schools' curriculum and schools have the option of customizing the itinerary to satisfy their specific field of study. Bahamas Ferries "Discover Your Bahamas Student Educational Program" is suitable for kindergarten to university students.
The air conditioning unit at Uriah McPhee Primary School was "sabotaged" multiple times, forcing education officials to spend thousands of dollars on repairs, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
The sabotage also forced officials to close the school for yet another day, Fitzgerald said.
"We reported the matter to the police today (Friday) and it appears that every day this week, we have had an experience of damage to our units, which has caused us now to put the units at both schools under 24-hour security watch," said Fitzgerald at a press conference at the Ministry of Education.
"It's unfortunate that it has come to this, but this appears the sort of action that we have to take with what is going on."
Fitzgerald said the AC unit will be repaired over the weekend and school will resume on Monday.
He said the act of sabotage is of "extreme concern" to him.
Over the past few days, officials found puncture holes and other damage to the air conditioning ducts, which have resulted in problems with the ventilation system, Fitzgerald said.
"We obviously have to now spend scarce resources protecting our units," he said.
The Ministry of Education closed Uriah McPhee and Stephen Dillet schools last Friday because of several health issues and malfunctioning air conditioning units.
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson claimed the schools also have mold, rodent and termite infestation.
The schools opened earlier this week after Fitzgerald said the Ministry of Environment gave the all-clear.
However, the union continued to express concerns about conditions at both schools.
The union had its own assessment conducted by Enviro-Clean Company on September 14.
In its report, the company said the air conditioning units and vents on each floor of Stephen Dillet are "extremely dirty, pushing out dust and contaminated".
The company noted that in an opening connecting the second and third floors, exposed fiberglass has been used to fix the ceiling.
"Overall Stephen Dillet Primary School is not fit or worthy to open for public use," the report said.
However, Fitzgerald dismissed that report yesterday.
He said he was informed that the report was prepared by a teacher who is presently facing disciplinary action for an exorbitant number of absent days.
"I believe that my ministry has engaged some of the most intelligent teachers anywhere in the world and they are capable of reading between the lines," he said.
Fitzgerald said he is satisfied that all of the issues that could potentially pose a health risk have been addressed.
He said officials from the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) also drew the same conclusion.
However, he added that the DEHS advised the ministry to carry out the remainder of work over the next 10 days, including fogging inside the building and cleaning the AC ducts.
"This is a procedure that is carried out routinely in houses, business, hospitals and schools in this country and around the world every day," Fitzgerald said.
"It does not require one to move out of their home, close their business or shut down a hospital to clean ducts and vents."
Fitzgerald invited parents to tour the affected schools on Monday so that they can see for themselves that the issues have been rectified.
More than 200 police officers were permanently assigned to government senior and junior high schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco yesterday, as part of the relaunched school-based policing program, according to officer in charge, Assistant Commissioner Leon Bethell.
For 32 years, Junior Achievement (JA) has been the pioneers of training the country's youth in the area of business in The Bahama, and has impacted the lives of approximately 42,000 high school Bahamians. Now it aims to broaden its scope. JA Bahamas plans to expands its program to include two new initiatives at the junior and primary school levels.
"Our focus in the past has been primarily on students in grades 10 through 12 at various institution. We have examined our efforts and conclude that a more expansive outreach is required, given the current need in a global ever-changing environment," said Raymond Winder, chairman of the board of directors of JA Bahamas. The program is being expanded in an effort to equip young Bahamians with skills that will significantly impact their individual contributions as responsible citizens of the world. The two new programs will come on stream on Monday, January 30.
The programs are seven-week, modular-based interactive programs that will be executed by volunteers and teachers. With the assistance of the JA alumni community, the government's Volunteer Bahamas program and the commitment of teachers at participating schools, Winder said JA has been able to secure the participation of skilled and responsible Bahamians to execute the initiatives.
Currently there are 400 students registered at the elementary level where financial literacy, citizenship, work readiness and the values of entrepreneurship are shared. The principles are executed through activity-based, interactive role playing, where the children are encouraged to compare skills among themselves with their families, communities and nationally.
Participating elementary schools include Thelma Gibson Primary, St. Thomas More Catholic School, St. Bede's Catholic School, Xavier's Lower School, Our Lady's Catholic School, Woodcock Primary School, Trinity Christian Schools, Yellow Elder Primary, Mable Walker Primary, Gerald Cash Primary, Garvin Tynes Primary, St. Anne's School and Columbus Primary School.
At the junior school level, Winder says JA envisions that achievers will participate in two modules that will focus on the basics of economics for success and business ethics. He further envisions that the principles learned may be applied in their personal lives and the development of a professional career.
"The JA Business Ethics program will be the most important of the sessions to be offered at the junior school level. We have deemed this to be our flagship program for youth 12 to 14 years of age. Currently there are 1,189 students registered in the program."
He said that scandals in the business community have eroded public confidence, and that JA Business Ethics program is designed to foster ethical decision-making in the students as they prepare to enter the workforce.
"Students learn to recognize, analyze and apply basic terminology, theories and concepts common to the study of ethics. They explore their own ethical values and philosophy, establish ethical priorities, recognize key ethical issues, and learn to evaluate their decision-making processes. We believe that a focus on ethics is the foundation to molding the citizens of the new Bahamas," he noted.
Junior schools participating include T.A. Thompson, L.W. Young, Kingsway Academy, Christian Heritage School, Zion Christian School, C.H. Reeves, S.C. McPherson, D.W. Davis, H.O. Nash, Anatol Rodgers, St. John's College, Queen's College, Jordan Prince Williams The Baptist School and Charles Saunders Baptist School.
Winder said JA Bahamas intends to expand further into the Family Islands with the new program, and also has a plan to provide a specialized session for ninth-grade students on global market business venturing. The projected annual impact is estimated to be 7,000 participants with the commitment of all junior schools on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Long Island alone.
He also said that all programs will be executed with set curricula as provided by JA Worldwide's department of curriculum and education. Teachers and volunteers will undergo training with JA's training staff in The Bahamas. A special training session will be facilitated via the Internet by JA Worldwide's staff in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The names of many of our public schools pay tribute to master teachers whose contributions to national development were extraordinary and critical. As students return to school in a couple of weeks, they should be reminded of those contributions by educators such as Mabel Walker, L.N. Coakley, N.G.M. Major, Naomi Blatch, T.G. Glover, C.V. Bethel and others.
Today's teachers should draw inspiration from yesterday's masters. Indeed, there remain many fine teachers and administrators in our public schools. We salute them as well as dedicated professionals in the Ministry of Education.
There should be no illusions about the difficulties teachers face in terms of student indiscipline in terms of work ethic and poor behavior. Add to this, a lack of parental support for teachers, and one gets a sense of what teachers face on a daily basis.
Within this context, we have high praise for those parents who are committed to improving public education through involvement in school boards, parent-teacher associations and other areas.
Noteworthy are collaborations between teachers and parents. Community outreach programs like those at Sadie Curtis, geared towards boosting parental involvement in school, is exemplary.
There are some improvements in public education.
Still, there is much work to be done. That work will have to be done by students hungry to learn and grow. But, that work also requires greater efforts and collaboration by parents and educators.
On other occasions we will address the parental role in quality education.
Today, we again address the role of quality teaching. The title of headmaster or headmistress was often synonymous with head teacher. And, for good reason. The idea was that the leader or principal of a school was not singularly a manager or administrator. One of the head's defining roles was to ensure the quality of teaching and instruction.
It is a role which should be stressed with equal measure to that of effective administration of our public schools. This will require that principals have other administrators and support staff assisting them in school administration.
More principals need to spend more time in classrooms rigorously observing teacher performance. The system for mentoring new teachers as well as teachers needing improvement will have to be reviewed and improved in various public schools.
We also renew our call for more effective teacher evaluation. This includes more vigorous assessment measures which truly gauge subject proficiency, teaching methods and student performance relative to the quality of teaching.
We look forward to various improvements in the upcoming school year.
Throughout the year, we will continue to address in various section of this journal: parental engagement, the quality of teaching, and leadership by school principals.
We wish all public and private schools a successful 2011/12 school year.
It was the album that launched Virgin Records 40 years ago in 1973 and sold more than 17 million copies worldwide...
There are some who argue that high school sports in The Bahamas, particularly here in New Providence, lost some of its competitive nature and some of its luster since the teacher's strike of 1986, but few can deny that it has played an integral part of the sustained development of the youth of this country.
That year saw the separation of the public and private school sporting programs into two separate bodies, ceasing the frequent matches and rivalries between the two entities here in New Providence. Be that as it may, interest certainly didn't fall off.
High school sports here in The Bahamas have produced Olympic and World Champions, such as Tonique Williams-Darling, who got her start athletically at St. John's College on Bethel Avenue.
Currently, the sporting curriculum includes team sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer in the primary school sector, and all three disciplines along with softball in the high schools. Individually, athletics has drawn the most attention in both primary and secondary schools, and has experienced the most success.
The cry for baseball in the school system continues to ring out, but for the most part, it appears that it is falling on deaf ears. The Ministry of Education, through its sports unit, experimented with baseball in the schools a few years back, but apparently, the ministry experienced difficulty fitting it into the after-school sports curriculum and sustaining consistent league play. The program fizzled out, but thankfully, through the various leagues under the umbrella of the Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF), youth baseball is as vibrant as it has ever been in The Bahamas, and scholarship opportunities are endless.
In basketball, Bahamian high schools have produced some of the best young players in the region. Despite not experiencing the same success on the senior side, on the junior level, The Bahamas has advanced to the FIBA Americas Championships on four separate occasions - all four in the past 12 years. The country hasn't advanced further, but no other Caribbean country can lay claim to that level of success. Numerous college stars and professional athletes surfaced out of that success on the junior side. Girls' basketball hasn't been nearly as successful as the boys', but the program is steadily on the rise. In the various high school leagues around the country, the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons, the C.I. Gibson Rattlers, the St. Augustine's College Big Red Machine and the Westminster College Diplomats have been perennial powerhouses.
Soccer in the high school system has been dominated by the St. Andrew's Hurricanes and Queen's College Comets in the private school sector, and the C.C. Sweeting Cobras and C.R. Walker Knights in the public schools sector. Just recently, a number of young women, many of whom are still in high school, made history for the country when they became the first team from The Bahamas to advance to the CONCACAF Championships. That under-17 national team entered the CONCACAF Championships as the number three team in the Caribbean behind Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, and during the tournament, was able to play the top ranked Caribbean nation Trinidad to a scoreless draw.
The sporting disciplines of volleyball and softball have struggled to produce regional champions in the 39 years of The Bahamas' Independence, but the competition here at home is as intense as it ever was, and the interest continues to grow.
The sporting discipline of athletics has produced World and Olympic Champions on all levels for The Bahamas. Just last year, a youth team from The Bahamas, consisting mostly of Bahamian high school students, produced the best ever finish for The Bahamas at a world level event. Team Bahamas returned from the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France, with three gold medals and one bronze - the best ever collective finish for The Bahamas.
As if that wasn't enough, the team traveling to the World Junior Championships is expected to be just as successful, if not more successful. The World Junior Championships get started on Independence Day and will continue until July 15.
Hence, this Independence Day is expected to bring a period of true national pride for Bahamians. A junior team is in Barcelona, Spain, preparing for the World Junior Championships, and in a couple weeks, a 20-plus member team will depart for the Olympic Games in London, England.
Both teams are expected to fare well, and bring recognition and prestige to this tiny nation of just 39 years of age - The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) yesterday threatened that when schools open across the country in September it would withdraw its labor from two of them if the principals are not removed.
BUT President Belinda Wilson called on the government to intervene...
A slightly different version of the school policing program that was dismantled by the Ingraham administration will be relaunched in public schools in September, according to Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage.
The original school policing program was launched by the previous Christie administration and involved stationing officers on public school campuses.
However, the Free National Movement reassigned officers who were stationed in schools shortly after becoming the government in 2007 and police liaison officers were later assigned to junior and senior high schools but were not required to physically remain on campus.
They were instead made available to various school administrators if they were needed.
When the officers were removed, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said police officers were not babysitters.
During a press conference at police headquarters yesterday, Nottage said, "We are in the last term now so obviously you would not see it in a full fledged way until the new school year and it may not be identical to what it was last time but it will be appropriate for the needs."
He continued, "The minister of education (Jerome Fitzgerald) and myself are to meet. We are then to meet with the security experts and the police and we will work it out."
Dr. Nottage acknowledged the fact that education officials reported last year that violent incidents in public schools had decreased somewhat.
However, he told The Nassau Guardian that challenges still exist in the public education system as it relates to violence.
"There are a lot of things happening that we are not aware of in our schools," he said. "We ought not to be lulled into a sense of false security and [while] the real violent incidents have been reduced in recent times, it does not obviate the need.
"We have gotten sufficient experience before to know the kind of officer to put there... because that makes a huge difference because in school you have a lot of young people, who have a lot of energy and a lot of desire that we need to be aware of."
Dr. Nottage said the type of police officers assigned to the program would be "mature, experienced and honest".
It is unclear how many officers will be assigned to each school, but the national security minister said those details would be worked out before the program is launched.
Only six schools out of approximately 100 averaged a grade of C+ or above in the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald revealed yesterday.
This includes both public and private schools which sat more than 20 papers...
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Ready, set, FISH - is what you will be hearing in Grand Bahama this weekend as the 3rd Annual Grand Bahama Shipyard's Youth Benefit fishing tournament gets ready to reel in big dollars for local schools' needs.
"The corporate community response has been phenomenal," said Tournament Committee Director Ed Pavey. "Our industrial partners and suppliers have really stepped up to the plate and extended their generosity towards our annual fundraiser." This year's efforts will aid both the West End schools in Grand Bahama as well as to complete shipyard efforts already started at Eight Mile Rock track and sports field. "At our first tournament we raised just over $13,000, last year's we tripled that figure with $45,000 for the East End Primary schools - and today I can report we are over $70,000 for this year's donations!"
Profits from the event will be used to assist Bartlett Hill Primary, Martin Town Primary, Holmes Rock Primary Schools and Eight Mile Rock High School.
"We don't actually donate the funds; we do the work that is required at the schools, such as putting in smart boards, swing sets, and basketball court refurbishments, bleachers, and painting," said Pavey. "We work with the administration and help them achieve their wish list for their respective school."
The tournament begins on Friday with a Captains' party for those teams that have registered and the fishing tournament starts at 6:00am sharp at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club on April 6th with weigh in by 5:00 pm that evening, and an Awards Ceremony at 7:00 pm.
A new element introduced into Speed Week 2012 was to invite any interested schools and youth groups to build Box Karts for display at the event. Several schools participated and enthusiastically, at short notice, produced some very impressive and well-made Box Karts.
The schools receiving trophies donated by H.G. Christie, were Summit Academy, Government High School and St. Andrew's School. The trophies for the participating teams were recently presented to the schools and their teams of builders by Victoria Sarne, project manager of the Formula One Kart Stars and John Christie. Both of them encouraged the schools to participate again this year particularly, as it is expected that the school teams or other participants will be able to race their Karts and there is a possibility of making it an inter-island competition as Abaco already hosts an annual Box Kart race.
The Box Kart initiative seems to have aroused a lot of interest from the students and the various groups as well as fond memories from their parents who recalled scrapping Box Karts together from bits and pieces back in the day in Nassau when it was a very popular pastime.
From the organizers' and teachers' perspective the Kart building was an interesting experience in team building and interaction and in the case of St. Andrew's, the students developed a "Friday night club" during the building process and have now turned their newly acquired skills into refurbishing old bits of furniture and donating these pieces to those in need - a simple initiative that started out as a project which now has the potential to develop useful skills, a sense of purpose and community involvement.
North Andros Member of Parliament Vincent Peet criticized Minister of Education Desmond Bannister and the government yesterday for failing to ensure that the Lowe Sound Primary School was ready to properly accommodate students at the start of the new school year.
Peet said while most schools in his constituency are in good condition, the Lowe Sound Primary School is in an unacceptable state. He said two trailers used to accommodate some students are not ready. As a result, students are crammed into classrooms Peet declared.He said in a statement yesterday the doors of the two trailers need to be retiled, and the retiling did not commence until Sunday. One trailer is completely untouched and work on the other is incomplete, according to Peet.
He further noted that the main buildings of the school does not have enough space to accommodate all students, and the two trailers that were introduced on the school's compound a few years ago have acted as temporary classrooms for some students.
A new primary school was scheduled to be built in 2007, but these plans were put on hold when the government changed that year, Peet claimed.
Both trailers were to be tiled during the summer but tiling only began on Sunday evening, the night before school opened, according to the MP.
"I am calling upon the minister of education and government to ensure that [these repairs are completed], and I am condemning them for not having the repairs done in time to meet the opening of school."
In a statement yesterday, Bannister said he was "extremely disappointed" that repairs to the trailers "in which Mr. Peet had been responsible for putting the children of Lowe Sound in" were not completed before school opened.
"In these circumstances, I have asked for an explanation from the officers who are responsible," Bannister said.
Peet said there are also staff shortages at Lowe Sound Primary School and North Andros High School.
Bannister explained that the Ministry of Education sought to engage a number of teachers this summer. He said several declined to take appointment in North Andros and the Ministry of Education declined to hire them.
The teachers who were hired in their place are on their way to North Andros.
Peet also claimed yesterday that Stanyard Creek Primary School was without basic teaching and cleaning supplies.
But Bannister said "this is a disappointing fabrication by one who knows better."
"In visiting classrooms at eight schools, I met students diligently at work on their first day at shool and teachers eagerly teaching," the minister said.
"It is therefore disappointing that Peet sought to focus on the negative rather than the hundreds of positive stories coming out of North Andros schools yesterday."