“We are required at a time such as this to be bold and confident in the cutting of new paths in education, to roll up our sleeves, to properly and accurately analyze and assess where we are in education and what is required of us to create the framework for excellence and to be skillful in executing with precision without looking left or right.
“This is essential and it is very urgent because I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that it is through the process of education that we will unleash a powerful, unstoppable explosions of brilliance amongst our youth population,” said the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training. She addressed the opening ceremony of the Department of Education’s Public Schools Administrators Conclave 2022 Monday, August 15, 2022.
The livestreamed event was held face-to-face at Loyola Hall, Gladstone Road. Session/workshop topics include: communication, curriculum development and effective tools for school management. The theme for the 3-day conclave which began with a church service on Sunday, August 13, is “Rethink, Retool, Reboot – Transforming the Teaching/Learning Experience”.
Executives of the Ministry of Education and Technical & Vocational Training attended the opening ceremony. They include: State Minister the Hon. Zane Lightbourne, Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Dr. Marcellus Taylor, Director; Sonia Culmer, Undersecretary and Althea Hamilton Grant, Assistant Director and Chairperson of the conclave. Minister Hanna-Martin predicted that one day the public education sector will produce a Nobel Prize winner in science, literature or economics.
She said, “We will see if we do this right is this spectacular emanation of brilliance in the development and expansion of creative arts in our school. We will see the beauty of our cultural richness flourish with developed creative arts curricula emphasizing arts, dance, music and drama so that our young people can give voice, movement and expression to their souls.
“We will see the incredible strength and talent of our young people demonstrated in a fully developed physical education and sporting program which not only promotes physical and mental well-being from grades K-12, but will facilitate the development of our sporting genius which we are seeing played out individually on world stages almost every day.”
She thanked the administrators and teachers for the roles they play as public servants and commended the “stalwart resiliency” they exhibited since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is awe inspiring to have seen the rapid adaptation, determination and focus to facilitating continuity and establishing some measure of stability for learning in our young population.
“We do know though that despite your best efforts and due to circumstances completely out of your control there has nevertheless been huge fallouts in education which have now largely set the tone for the days and months ahead. In this regard, we must prepare ourselves and commit to doing all that is necessary to close gaps and facilitate accelerated learning for all of those affected.”
She emphasized that work is underway for the assessment, evaluation and development of acceleration programs for students.
“We start at the premise that every child counts, at the same time however and on a simultaneous basis we must be ready to facilitate a progressive agenda and to implement education reform. Your theme speaks to the transformation in education, teaching and learning.
“Long before Dorian, long before COVID-19 education has been challenged. This is not a phenomenon unique to The Bahamas. Many, if not most countries struggle with creating the right formulae, striking the right notes for massive attainment in education.
“Our children are extraordinarily gifted. It is my humble submission that we are not yielding the bountiful harvest represented by and inbuilt in this immense human potential.
“Many of our children face difficult social and economic circumstances which impinge upon their readiness in the classroom.
“Additionally, there are many deficiencies or weaknesses at various levels in both policy and practice in the delivery of education in this country.You are leaders in this transformational era. We the Bahamian people will be as good as you are.”
Minister Hanna-Martin remarked that there is no place or space for mediocrity, idleness or personal conflicts. At no stage should the so called hierarchy, that includes the teachers, be viewed as warring factions at odds with various stakeholder groups in this critical enterprise She said the situation is too “urgent”, “vital” and too “important” for that.
“You are called upon to be equipped and prepared, responsive, ahead of the game. In this process of education we must be mindful that our teachers are in the heat of the matter so to speak. Face-to-face, in a single forum, in real time, dozens of children and young people of various backgrounds at any one time. It is very important that our teachers are not only adequately trained and subject to continuing professional development but also that they receive the necessary recognition and material and moral support in such a dynamic and intenseenvironment.”
Director Marcellus Taylor expressed gratitude to the administrators for “excellent” work. He said there is a lot more to do and reason at this critical juncture for the necessity to rethink, retool and reboot.
“We are not going to get stuck in the mud of COVID-19. The country is opening up. There is a promise and a possibility of tomorrow and over the course of these three days, which commenced yesterday with the church service, and two days of workshop/ seminars, there will be that seminal point where we ensure that we rise and continue to propel our education system.”