The Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Cape Eleuthera Island School (CEIS) formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding and entered a public/private partnership (PPP) that is anticipated to enhance the education standards of Bahamian students. The Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education, described the occasion as a “red letter”, “extra-ordinary” day which was long time coming. The partnership is an expansion of a prototype that presently exists for students of Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS). “We feel that what has been established at DCMS and what will be established at Deep Creek Primary School is a prototype of what could be facilitated across the landscape of the society,” said Mr. Lloyd.
Through the arrangement, students from kindergarten through grade 9 at Deep Creek Primary School will benefit from customized, experiential, personalized learning for the 21st century. “It puts the learning in the hands of the students. It’s not a teacher-directed, it’s not a school-directed, it’s a student directed learning experience,” the Minister said.
“I believe the 21st century is about private and public partnerships. The unpalatable reality is the public sector/government cannot do it alone, they have never done it alone. We have always partnered with our stakeholders in the community whether it was the churches, and we still have this relationship today, or other NGOs like the CEIS, we have had to facilitate the learning/training experience of our children with this kind of amalgamated effort. We are extremely proud to be able to do so with the CEIS.” On hand at the signing Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the Ministry of Youth, was Julian Anderson, Deputy Director; Dr. Rodney Smith, President, University of The Bahamas (UB); Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Alexandra Holowesko, Principal, CEIS; and Chris Maxey, President, CEIS.
Minister Lloyd said the relationship that the MOE has with CEIS in the establishment of the DCMS in Deep Creek Eleuthera has been a “phenomenal” success and so impressive that he challenged Mr. Maxey to establish similar arrangements in incremental steps throughout The Bahamas beginning with Deep Creek Primary School. Since this time DCMS has witnessed many leaps and milestones including improvements in national examinations, which are far superior to the national standards, 52 graduates have received $7.2 million in tuition scholarships to attend internationally accepted Boarding Schools. Moreover, DCMS has achieved several firsts including in 2010 being named the first school in The Bahamas to be awarded the Green Flag Certification for its commitment and efficacy in respect to the environment, and receiving the 2018 title as First World Citizen Peace Site in the Caribbean.
Minister Lloyd remarked that he is grateful to Chris and his vision for making it possible to be in a place where we believe Bahamian children are going to see phenomenal success in this experience. “I cannot wait for the day to come when we will move this from island to island so that our children can have the benefit of their own experience in their own environment. They are snorkeling, scuba diving in the ocean in the marshes learning about their environment, their country in way that’s just tremendous.” President Smith said UB deeply appreciates the lucrative relationship shared with CEIS and the partnerships they have continued to expand for the benefit of education and research.
“All of the scientists, professors at CEIS are becoming adjunct professors for UB. We are kicking off our graduate degree by research in the spring of 2020; a lot of that research will be going on at CEIS. Graduates go to work at CEIS as well as UB students have studied there as well.” President Smith echoed and emphasized Minister Lloyds’ sentiments that this model needs to be repeated throughout The Bahamas.
“In this relationship with CEIS and Deep Creek Primary School, students are being taught how to appreciate what God has blessed us with. We have been blessed as caretakers of these islands and we have to teach our children how to take care of what we’ve been blessed with,” he said. Mr. Maxey said CEIS is delighted to expand the work that the school has conducted for almost 2 decades. “It’s literally putting learning in the hands of the young people, giving them a chance to explore their beautiful island and enhance their literacy and mathematics.”