Education Ministry Goes Back To Basics

January 21, 2011

dame_jennifer_smith_3Education Minister Dame Jennifer Smith today [Jan. 21] announced the first steps aimed at putting “Teaching and Learning” at the forefront of the Ministry’s mission.

The Minister said that after re-reading the Hopkins Report and examining the status of its recommendations, studying the Blueprint for Education and meeting with the Board of Education, the Association of School Principals and the Bermuda Union of Teachers — she decided to adopt the BUT’s theme of “Keep It Simple”.

That means a direct focus on the core principles “Teaching and Learning.”

To this end, and effective immediately, the Commissioner of Education, Wendy McDonnell, will give up responsibility for the day to day operations of the Department of Education in order to lead the transformation of the Bermuda Public School System.

A spokesperson said “Mrs. McDonnell has been given this responsibility because of her extensive and successful background in championing educational reform in Canada prior to returning to her home country, Bermuda, and assuming the post of Commissioner.”

The Minister noted that Mrs. McDonnell’s title will now be Commissioner with responsibility for Teaching and Learning.

As such, she will have the authority to do whatever it takes to move the necessary reforms forward; and to ensure that the support needed for our principals and teachers to achieve the best teaching and learning for our students is in place.

Permanent Secretary of Education, Warren Jones, will take on responsibility for the day to day operations of the Department of Education in the dual position of Permanent Secretary and Acting Commissioner of Education with responsibility for Operations.

The Minister noted that it was fortuitous that the Permanent Secretary has the educational qualifications, experience and proven track record to lead the Department towards a singular focus on student outcomes.

Reporting functions within the Ministry will not change; and as the Permanent Secretary Mr. Jones remains ultimately responsible for the delivery of the Government’s agenda.

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Comments (15)

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  1. Tired of nonsense says:

    Hopefully Dame Jennifer can breathe some life back into this useless school system as ours…

    Personally I know of some pretty useless teachers employed by the system who have no qualms about telling people how they became a teacher for the summer vacations, brag about how their Union membership prevents them from ever getting fired while also stating that they do not get paid to put in the extra work or putting in extra time with the children isn’t part of their job description.

    Time to stip off the dead wood from our education system. Such people only hurt the youth and by extension Bermuda as they are producing “graduates” through social promtion techniques that do not have the necessary skills to survive in our economy.

    Good luck Dame Jennifer. Hope you have better luck second time around and more luck then the past 7/8/9 ministers which have held the position in less than 10 years…

  2. Terry says:

    It’s all the UBP’s fault.

    Teaching and learning. Thats what it is all about. Bring back the Cadre…..

    • Watchful EYE says:

      It is not the UBP’s fault and not the PLP’s fault either it is the person of the day listening to the numerous so called expert consultants that they keep bringing in to chop and change from American to Canadian, to British to what ever system they think at the time will work for the BERMUDA school system. So stop changing and lets teach.
      Dame i wish you all the best and as I read in the article i hope it stays simple and that it is sucessful in educating our future leaders of the island.

      • Truth for Truth says:

        How long has the UBP been out of power? The now scapegoat is the PLP. More power to Warren, if Jennifer stays out of his way, he may get to do his job.

  3. Kennette J Burgess says:

    Dame all the best, you seem to be doing a great job. We have too many efficient internal sources to be turning to external sources that are not right for Bermuda and its people.
    For peace and progress.

  4. Terry says:

    It’s all those teachers that were hired under the UBP….

  5. What?? says:

    The Ministry of Education wants to bring ““Teaching and Learning” at the forefront of the Ministry’s mission”? What the heck has been going on all these years? From 1998 till recently, what was the MoE trying to bring about?

  6. chris says:

    shaken not stirred

  7. LaVerne Furbert says:

    At least Bernews got the name of the Permanent Secretary right.

  8. Letariatpro says:

    Teaching and Learning, huh? A novel idea. What pray tell were the objectives before?

    While very noble the intent, little was said about how they will go about this and exactly what these new titles mean. What are their job descriptions? By what will their efforts be judged?

    I think today I shall call myself ‘President’, that should help my business.

  9. Pondering says:

    Is it a good idea to use the word “Simple”?

  10. Hmmmmm says:

    All these variations on the theme of the Hopkins Report are proof of the lack of courage this Government has when it comes to making tough decisions. This announcement should read: “Randy, Neletha and El couldn’t do it. I’m getting closer but firing people this close to an election isn’t wise so I’ll try a little spin on what Hopkins really said needed to be done and hold on…”. Later for tourism, privatise education if you want real reform. The politician has yet to be born that will tame the beast at Dundonald Street and this move is window dressing. If the aim is to make schools autonomous units within families of schools then the work of HQ should be diminishing not increasing, allowing the Commissioner and her people to get into the schools. If that hasn’t been happening then making this shift is not the answer. But you gotta love the titles though. One unparalleled skill this Administration has is impressive, hollow names. Dame Jennifer, be the mercenary people think you are and the children of Bermuda will thank you for it.

  11. ND says:

    Change needs to begin at the top (barring Dame Jennifer Smith–who has only recently been sworn into her title as Minister). However, change will never take place as long as the school system continues to be led based on personal relationships! Why keep an ineffective principal at the helm of a school just because you know that individual and have a personal relationship with said individual? Only the children suffer as a result. The Hopkins Report does offer excellent suggestions by way of improvement for our present failing school system; however, until and unless those suggestions are actually carried out, the report simply remains “words on paper.”

  12. LOL (original) says:

    Anyone know the GCSC prep results. The average for the S2 class at Berkeley seems to be around 33%…………………………