Video: Education Minister Press Conference

February 27, 2020 | 9 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain is holding a press conference this morning [Feb 27] regarding the Ministry of Education’s 2020/21 budget. We will have additional coverage later on, and in the meantime an extract from the Budget pertaining to education and the live video is below.

Extract from the 2020 Budget about the Ministry of Education’s budget allocation

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education will receive a budget allocation of $137.6 million, which is $512,000 higher than last fiscal year.

The Ministry of Education has allocated an estimated total of $2.1 million in fiscal year 2020/21 for funding additional initiatives that support the execution of Plan 2022 strategies, and to continue the administration of the merit-based “College Promise” programme for public school graduates to attend the Bermuda College. Focus will be placed on the restructuring and redesign of the Bermuda public school system, and the provision of key wrap-around services needed for students who exhibit severe behaviours in public schools.

Mr. Speaker, changing severe student behaviours requires consistent, daily intervention and support. Accordingly, two support centres will be introduced in the public school system for the primary school level and the middle/senior school level at a cost of roughly $520,000. Full-time professionals that include education therapists and school counsellors will be hired.

Mr. Speaker, a total of $1.4 million will support the commencement of redesigning and restructuring the Bermuda public school system in alignment with adaptive strategies outlined in Plan 2022. In addition to the Government’s platform initiative to phase out middle schools, Plan 2022 outlines the longer-term transformational strategy of establishing specialised schools that focus on the projected needs of the community. Plan 2022 also states the need for renovating and/or consolidating school facilities. This requires the redesign and reconfiguration of schools.

Mr. Speaker, the Bermuda College will continue to receive a grant to give our public school senior students greater access to the college. As a result, the Ministry has allocated $250,000 for the College Promise Programme that was introduced to the college during the previous budget year.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 10-minute replay is below:

Update 12.44pm: Minister Rabain said, “I am pleased to provide further information regarding the Ministry of Education’s initiatives for the upcoming 2020/21 budget year. As we continue to implement Plan 2022, we must reflect on the Plan consistently in order to ensure we are hitting our markers. While we will continue to move forward with initiatives already in train, we also must be able to seamlessly continue to implement new programs that will support our students and educators alike.

“The budget allocation for the Ministry of Education for 2020/21 will be $137.6 million dollars which represents an actual increase of $512k. I view this an actual increase because within our current budget, we have sharpened our pencils and reviewed the original allocation and found just over $2 million in savings that will be used to fund other programs in the upcoming year.

Restructuring and Redesign of the BPSS

“The restructuring and redesigning of our public school system in alignment with the adaptive strategies outlined in Plan 2022 will continue in the next fiscal year with $1.4 million allocated to ramping up the work needed to achieve this goal. Plan 2022 outlines the longer-term transformational strategies for establishing specialized schools and the need to renovate and/or consolidate school facilities. This requires planning, redesign and reconfiguration of our schools. The Ministry has identified, the need for external help, help that specializes in change management is needed. This year, we will be engaging the services of entities to assist with the change management that is needed. Soon we will commence consultation with the various stakeholders to share with them the framework of the future of public school in Bermuda so we can begin the process of collaboration to get us moving in that direction.

“College Promise” Initiative

“Building on the success of the College Promise program introduced in September 2019, the Government will continue this merit-based ‘college promise’ programme for Bermudian students graduating from public high school with a GPA of at least 3.0. Qualifying students will continue to attend Bermuda College, tuition free with $250k allocated to this program for 2020/21. This school year, 23 students are currently attending the Bermuda College, tuition free.

Severe Behavior Intervention

“Today’s students, while they are still children attending school to grow and learn, are exposed to different things than when you and I were students in school. Our students attend school, the majority of the time through no fault of their own, having experienced situations, even us as adults would avoid. Today, our dedicated teachers are at times, faced with behavioral challenges that go beyond what they can handle within the classroom. While the Department of Education has introduced the M.T.S.S. program, we still find that some students require additional assistance. Those students with severe behaviors require consistent daily interventions and support, something that cannot be given in the traditional classroom setting by the traditional classroom teacher. To provide such interventions, the Department of Education will introduce two support centres for both Primary and Middle/Senior school students. There has been $512k allocated in this year’s budget to establish these centres and hire additional Educational Therapists, School Counselors and a Social Worker. This has been something our teachers and parents have been asking for and we are responding to the needs of our students.

“While I have provided a snapshot of some very important initiatives that will be implemented this fiscal year, this is by no means the extent of the programs currently in place and will continue to be implemented within the Ministry. I urge you to listen on March 13th when I will deliver the Ministry of Education’s Budget Brief.

“In closing, I want the public to know your Government will continue to make public school education a priority. This fiscal year will see continued growth and progress in improving our public education system as we continue to implement Plan 2022. While, I have no doubt, this year will see some very difficult conversations and decisions having to be made, the Ministry of Education will remain focused on the task at hand, we will work diligently and not shy away from making the difficult decision necessary to restore the public’s confidence and ensure our children have the best. Thank You.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Chingas bie says:

    Hope you can figure this out Mr. Rabain. Unfortunately, with the bar being set so low for teacher qualifications plus a union and little to no accountability and expectations, even the best plans will fail.

  2. Well.
    No education for Chingas bie.
    You are misinformed. Get with CURRENT educators. The bar is set quite high.
    Expectations have increased and accountability has risen higher.
    Become better informed and get to know public school teachers.

  3. Comfortably numb says:

    Throwing money at the problem will not solve the problem. Until you start terminating underperforming teachers, rein in the power of the BUT and disband the useless Ministry of Education we will still have A disastrous public education system.

    • Honestly says:

      How about you stop criticizing and talk to a few exceptional teachers! Negative without corrrect information.

  4. Vortex says:

    Is this guy the worst education minister we have ever had?

    He can’t do a thing right.

    • sandgrownan says:

      To be fair, it’s a thankless task with the Union and DoE yabbering on all day, but yeah, he’s pretty crap.

  5. Joe Bloggs says:

    Interesting. The only mention of maintenance is where the Minister says “Plan 2022 also states the need for renovating and/or consolidating school facilities. This requires the redesign and reconfiguration of schools.”

    What I get from that is that the Government will continue to neglect the physical plant and then close schools based on lack of maintenance. A self-fulfilling plan!

  6. Birdlegs says:

    What hope do we have for our children when some of our treachers set such a bad example? e.g. Delwood. The bar is exceptionally low here for teachers. Parents also do not do their part.

  7. @1 says:

    tick tock goes the clock on the never ending saga of TRYING to fix a problem they have no control over anymore, the same people trying to fix a problem will no see it any differently, and different people wont understand the dynamics soooo what do we do? Wellll I will say, they should have kept the schools in parishes and mega school for Bermuda screamed FAILURE! money wont solve it because there are no competent bodies to propel the change needed..those who try will be held accountable, we cant afford to throw money at a mere effort which is what trying is,

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