Education Minister outlines purpose for National High School Diploma Review Commission

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A number of veteran educators and Commission members were a part of the panel during a town hall meeting on the Review of the National High School Diploma, on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at St. George’s gym. Some Commission members gave an update on their role on the Commission.

Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin says education is the key to national development and is germane to individual progress and a sense of self.

“This beloved nation of ours will be as good as the emerging generations are,” she added. “How they are prepared and positioned and ethically grounded, how their enormous potential is refined and developed is key to our nation’s progress.”

Minister Hanna-Martin’s comments came during the start of a town hall meeting at the St. Georges’ Gymnasium on the review of the requirements for the country’s high school diploma, on Tuesday, October18, 2022. The Education Minister talked about the formation of the Bahamas High School Diploma National Review Commission, and outlined its purpose. The town hall meeting in Freeport was the second such meetings in Grand Bahama – the first meeting was held on Monday, October 17th in Eight Mile Rock.

The town hall meetings are expected to be held throughout the islands of The Bahamas, in order to disseminate information and changes to the Diploma requirements, as well as to get feedback from parents.

“I wish to thank the National Commission for the review of the high school diploma, for their diligence in this process, which includes town meetings nationwide, to obtain input from the wider population,” said Minister Hanna- Martin, during an address via zoom.

“This process is important, because a diploma has far-reaching implications for our children and young people, and the voices of all stakeholders must be heard. This commission has been tasked with reviewing the objects and purpose of the high school diploma, studying its core criteria and analyzing the impacts of these criteria in total or singularly and to determine whether the objects and purposes are being achieved.”

Minister Hanna-Martin pointed out that if deemed necessary or appropriate, the commission will submit its considered recommendations and or observations to the Ministry for reform or appropriate adjustments. The underlying purpose of the Commission is to ensure that prevailing criteria for the high school diploma maintains relevancy and are accurate reflections of student attainment in light of the progressive trends and evolving strategies in education and in consideration of educational research, to ensure that the country’s high school diploma reflects true attainment of the student and sets appropriate standards and best practices.

“The objective is to create the framework and to establish the foundation for our children to aspire for higher performance and to meet the objectively recognized standards,” added Minister Hanna-Martin. “This is not an exercise to compromise standards. I have heard the voices of educators, parents and students.

“The school campus, wherever it may exist throughout our archipelago and its captive audience of students, is an amazing and invaluable and exciting opportunity to tap into the incredible potential of our children and to help map out a future that our ancestors could only have dreamed of.”

Chairman of the Bahamas High School Diploma National Review Commission is Mr. Cecil Thompson, a veteran educator in Grand Bahama. A number of other well-versed and experienced educators and business professionals have been appointed to the Board. Addressing the parents who had gathered at St. Georges’ for the town hall meeting, Mr. Thompson said that he had accepted the post of Chairman with a
great deal of humility. He said the Commission intends to carry out its task to the full extent.

“The Ministry of Education, Technical and Vocational Training has sought to engage a cross section of stakeholders in its efforts to address a comprehensive review of the Bahamas High School Diploma,” said Mr. Thompson.

“The Minister has surrounded me with a cast of “stars” to guarantee that I would not fail in this task. The Minister has directed us to look at every aspect of the Bahamas High School diploma and make considered recommendations to the Minister for implementation. We shall do just that.”

While the meeting was designed to update parents on the role of the Commission and its overall purpose, there were discussions about the new criteria needed for graduation and the Ministry of Education’s goal of ensuring that all children receive quality education. Parents were also allowed to ask questions and make recommendations to members of the Commission for consideration.

By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services

A number of Grand Bahamian parents attended the
town hall meeting on the Review of the National High School Diploma, which was
held on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at the St. George’s Gymnasium. Parents were
not shy in approaching the microphone to ask questions and express their
concerns.