Ministry of Education: Acklins and Harbour Island Schools Update

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The Ministry of Education’s attention is drawn to reports of unrest at the Harbour Island Comprehensive School and the Acklins Central High School. We are aware of the need to care for all students, teachers and administrators in the school system, and consider their overall well-being to be a major priority. As soon as a concern is brought to our
attention, the Ministry of Education immediately seeks to put in place the necessary steps to address the issue raised. In the case of the Acklins based school, a contractor is currently on the ground making repairs to the bathroom block and septic tank facility. The Acklins high school will remain closed for one week, from Monday, January 20 – Friday January 24, 2020 in order to facilitate needed repairs.

Additionally, the public is informed that the Ministry of Education is providing an enhanced offering of subjects to the Acklins based secondary school, via the use of our Virtual School platform. The public
will recall in this respect, that in September 2018, the Ministry of Education started putting in place the foundation to facilitate online connectivity, and to provide learning devices and related equipment for
all teachers and students in our 172 schools, offices and other ancilliary buildings. A major component of this exercise involved the formalized, institutionalized establishment of a distance learning programme. Since that time, our online platform has been formatted to address the teacher shortages in the smaller islands and cays which lacked instructional leaders for specialty courses.

We are pleased to advise that currently, BTC and Cable Bahamas are working to increase the Acklins school’s fiber optic capacity, thereby strengthening the internet capacity to ensure a seamless online connection for the online classroom capacity on the island.

Through the additional instructional hours provided by the Virtual School connectivity, students in Acklins will be able to register for a maximum of nine Bahamas Junior Certificate courses,(BJC) and ten Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (BGCSE) courses this school year, a considerable improvement over the five or six subjects which were the norm for students at this school in the past.

In the case of the Harbour Island Comprehensive School, we are aware that there has been an orchestrated demonstration after school hours, on the site of the government dock. The Ministry is aware that there remains a need for an additional Language Arts teacher at the institution, and this shortfall is expected to be remedied in the near future. In the meantime, there has been no loss of instructional time at the school, due to teacher substitutions within the Language department.

Like all of our 172 public institutions, the Harbour Island campus undergoes continual maintenance throughout the year, and routine repairs and renovations are currently ongoing, to ensure that the
condition of the physical facility is at an acceptable level. The Ministry of Education wishes to affirm that we value the contributions of all support staff, teachers and administrators and the needs of our students in our 172 public institutions, and we have always cooperated with our team members to ensure that all individuals are placed in environments which are conducive to a successful learning process.

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