The Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training held a press conference today announcing the establishment of the National Commisssion for the Bahamas High School Diploma.
Numerous ministry officials brought remarks including Minister Glenys Hanna Martin along with the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Cecil Thompson. In her remarks, Minister Hanna Martin said, “this commission will be 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 in fact being achieved.”
The composition of the Commission includes representatives of the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, all private school boards and education related trade unions, the Bahamas Association of Secondary Schools, Civil Society Bahamas, Department of Labour, Bahamas Scholastic Association, University of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and Family Island representatives.
Minister Hanna Martin stated that “this is not an exercise to compromise standards. In fact, it is the absolute opposite. The underlying purpose of this commission will be to ensure that the prevailing criteria maintains relevancy annd are an accurate reflection of student attainment in light of progressive trends and evolving strategies in education and in consideration of educational research and policy to ensure that our high school diploma reflects true attainment of the students and sets appropriate standards and best practices. The objective is to create the framework and establish the foundation for our children to aspire for highere performance and to meet the objectively recognized standards.”
The Bahamas High School Diploma Programme was implemented in September of 2014. According to the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the current criterias to obtain a high school diploma are as follows:
- Attain four subjects in the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) Examinations including Mathematics, English Language, a Science, Social Studies or Career and Technical Education subject administered at the end of the ninth grade.
- Twenty (27) credit hours in grades 10—12, Fifteen (15) of the credit hours are gained from completing a minimum of core subjects and twelve (12) are earned through the pathway courses.
- Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 over the three years, grade 10 – 12, on a four point scale.
- Complete thirty (30) hours of unpaid Community Service on the students’ time during the tenth eleventh-grade years. A student may choose a Community Service Activity within the guidelines provided by the school. The student will be required to maintain record service activities on a form provided by the school. This form must be signed and verified by the receiving agency. Completion of this requirement may deferred until May of grade twelve, provided approval is granted by the school.a of community
- Complete twenty (20) hours of Job Readiness Training.
- Maintain 90% or higher attendance and punctuality over the 3 year period, grades 10-12.
- Maintain 90% punctuality level over 3 year period, grades 10-12.
- Parents are required to participate in a minimum of three (3) parent/teacher conferences between grades 10-12.
Student conduct and parent participation are also considerations.
While Minister Hanna Martin did not put a timeline on the commission for its report and or findings, she did encourage concise, comprehensive and prompt deliberations.