Lovitta Foggo: “Education Must Be Top Priority”

April 27, 2016

“Our students must come first” and “education must be top priority,” Shadow Education Minister Lovitta Foggo said today.

Ms Foggo said, “The OBA response to the latest protest from teachers, that they are serious about education and consider it priority, is dubious at best when their actions since 2013 don’t match their words.

“The OBA has clearly ‘not put the money where their mouth is’. In contrast, they have consistently lowered the budget for education each fiscal year it has been in office, while academic results have not improved and conditions at our schools have been allowed to worsen.”

Slideshow of teachers demonstrating yesterday afternoon in Hamilton


“The Ministry of Education’s actual budgets for fiscal year 2013/14 were $132,713,000, and 2014/15 was $130,197,000. The estimated budget for 2015/16 was $127,130,000 and the estimated budget for this current year is $124,900,000,” Ms Foggo continued.

“It is important to also note that the budget for school maintenance was slashed by the OBA to the tune of $1.5 million, while the airport development budget leaped by over $2million dollars. This demonstrates that education is not a top priority for the OBA.

“At the start of the school year, the OBA declared that Bermuda’s public schools were in good stead and ready for operation, yet the facts bear out differently. Schools still have hurricane damage from 2 years ago.

“Many schools are faced with rodents, roaches and mold. The perennial issue of resources remains unaddressed. The system has once again been faced with a budget that does not even begin to allow principals and their teachers to Fix the issues.

Education Minister Wayne Scott speaking at yesterday’s demonstration

“The question many people are asking is would the participants in the America’s Cup have been permitted to endure these conditions?

“The OBA seems more interested in ducking responsibility than in actually addressing these real issues and real concerns within education. This approach may benefit the OBA, but it leaves our children in the cold, our schools in a mess and the problems unsolved.

“Our students must come first. Education must be top priority. Our students deserve a fighting chance. Bermuda’s future depends on it!”

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Comments (43)

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  1. archy says:

    Ms Foggo: how many education ministers were there under the PLP, 12? What happened to the Hopkins report which was commissioned under the PLP and how much did that cost?
    It’s not that I disagree with what Ms Foggo is saying – quite the opposite – it’s just that it needs pointing out that the PLP were great either ….

    • Black Soil says:

      The PLP could not even get an Occupancy Certificate for Cedarbridge.

    • Real talk (original) says:

      And 3 under the OBA in as many years.
      The moral of the story: Government does a poor job of managing the education system. Maybe they shouldn’t be responsible for it anymore.

    • jiggs bda says:

      Ms. Foggo,

      Why don’t we close the schools and fix them up right now send the kids around to your house.

      Work cannot be done while schools are in.

      This government has only had a couple of years… how long were the PLP in charge of Education,

      Keep up the good work,

    • lalalalala says:

      Think you mean…needs pointing out that the PLP were NOT great either ….

      Everyone keeps saying PRIORITY for this and that… Where does the money come from? (cut the size of government?)

      I agree something needs to be done with education.. 1st step.. decrease the size of the Department of Education 2nd step.. Close some schools and consolidate the GOOD teachers (people need to get over this “not my school” attitude)

    • smh says:


      OBA has completed more than half their term. People are tired of the scapegoating and the narrative won’t be accepted any longer!

  2. Truthhertz says:

    Strange how she forgot to note that the PLP, in 2011, cut the budget by $14mn and sought private individuals to adopt a school by paying for their upkeep. This is despot the fact they found the monies to pay umpteen consultants and vanity projects that has millions and millions of so called overruns.

    In the run-up to the 2012 election the then PLP minister claimed that public education was ‘thriving.’

    The PLP hid from public view the deplorable state of our public schools. The OBA commissioned the SCORE report which highlighted the numerous issues. And despite the sad message includes in the report were made public and the Mjnister accepted the findings and acknowledged the need to focus on these issues. Maybe the OBA should have kept the findings a secret and claimed that the system was thriving instead.

    When will there be accountability for the consistently poor results of our public school attendees? If re to hold the BTA accountable for turning around our poor tourism results in less than 2 years then why can we expect the same level of accountability from our educators concerning decades of substandard results?

  3. Raymond Ray says:

    How many “people” are being paid by the Progressive Labour Party to tic, “Dislike”? One can’t deny facts;the P.L.P. had all them Ministers and years to correct the problems at all the public schools, from maintenance to rebuilding where and when necessary. Please; stop attempting to blame the One Bermuda Alliance :-(

  4. watching says:

    the PLP are not the government.

    • Herb says:

      they were for 14 yrs does anyone think that this school problems didnt just start under the OBA you know and the scapegoating is going to go on for many years because of the spending spree under the PLP, dont you get it, they put this country in a terrible state financially

  5. Comfortably numb says:

    The first step to improving education would be to clear all that dead weight that’s inhabiting the Department of Education. Never was there a clearer example of the Peter Principle where people are promoted by the level of their inefficiency: if you can’t teach, become an Education Officer. Back in the day if you were a graduate of THE Berkeley Institute and attended a certain Gospel Hall in Crawl your success was guaranteed. Not sure if much has changed.The private schools are producing excellent results at a far lower per student cost because they keep the D of E at a considerable distance.

    • flikel says:

      “The private schools are producing excellent results at a far lower per student cost because they keep the D of E at a considerable distance.”

      Not true. The cost per student, at all the private schools, exceed the tuition they charge. They typically make up the deficit through fundraising efforts and donations.

      Private schools admit this, particularly during when seeking donations or during fundraising, however they never publish the actual costs per student.

      • serengeti says:

        Utter nonsense.

        • Gabriel says:

          Not entirely false. They do have fundraising efforts. The fundraising efforts typically go to capital projects. This amount is a very very small percentage of total funds used to run the school. I cannot emphasise how small it is.

          Some schools also make use of specialized teachers where needed (potentially nurse, speech therapy) which provided by the government.

  6. Too bad that many on this blog hold ONLY the P.L.P. accountable.
    I must stress that this current group of “LEADERS” ARE THE MOST EMBARRASSING in all of Bermuda’s history.
    Quit the past blame game and focus on the current MESS that this country is in for Bermudians.
    When will the current”leaders” get the gist of the FACT that this country’s resource….children… are being deliberately NEGLECTED.AMERICA CUP is at the peak of the”leaders’” priorities. So,….this would conclude that the oba/ubp group are ——–.

    • Sara says:

      Give me a freaking break. You really are full of it. The most embarrassing group of leaders are the ones that didn’t understand math and how to keep a budget balanced! Thank the lord they are no longer the government! And they still can’t admit how bad they messed up!

      • TO SARA:
        Someone has to be FULL OF IT!! It is necessary to be so.
        Got it ALL WRONG, dear Sara. Join them in getting A GRIP on the mess that the oba/ubp have put Bermudians in.
        Be FULL OF IT for that FACT!!!!

    • lalalalala says:

      1st of all The America’s Cup is doing more for education in Bermuda than the PLP did in 14 years..

      2nd… If the PLP had spent money on education instead of stupidly overspending on every poorly managed project we wouldn’t be where we are today.

      3rd.. The Department of Education is a bloated waste of time and space and should have been cut in half years ago

      4th.. If we close ALL the public schools (and scrap the Department of Education), let the Private schools take over we’ll have an education system that works and it will cost us 20-30% less per child than we pay now…

    • aceboy says:

      You aren’t holding the PLP accountable. In fact you want them back in apparently. Thus the need to remind you how poor the PLP were when it came to education.

  7. hmmm says:

    So Foggo is implying that the PLP didn’t have their priorities right!

    She must hate the PLP, or is she just spinning propaganda ? You decide.

    • bermyguy says:

      what she is saying is that the plp aren’t government any more, so what they did or didn’t do doesn’t matter at this point. the oba is govt and what they aren’t doing does matter.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        The fault in Ms. Foggo’s blatant political statement is that the PLP blame the poor legacy of education issues they inherited on the UBP, but then did nothing to truly address them while in power. Now they deny their legacy of neglect of our children’s education, that they committed that puts us where we are now. At least during the zenith of the PLP years, they actually had the money they needed to address the issues that we still face today… we know the OBA doesn’t have the money now to adequately tackle the issues today, what is Ms. Foggo’s excuse for when the PLP could have… When they had money to replace the ancient plumbing in the schools… to have taken measures to address the causes of mold… What was their priorities with the money when it was there; Port Royal (the golf course, not the school), BHC, courts building, TCD, Faith Based Tourism, Music Festival… where was Ms. Foggo demanding priority to education then, speaking out to the neglect her own party is guilty of, the schools certainly weren’t in any better shape then. Contrary to what she says now, the current minister is at least trying to take action on a report that was done… how many PLP reports sat on shelves, at least the current minister has been public with the report… how many of those shelved reports did the PLP try and hide… and where was Ms. Foggo’s voice back then demanding transparency and immediate action on those reports for our children from her own party…

  8. serengeti says:

    In the past couple of years, the PLP has identified many things as their “top priority”.

    Depending on who you ask, and when, their “top priority” has been: immigration reform, changing the culture of violence, investment and job creation, cleaning up the canal area, tourism, gender equality, expansion of the CCTV system, affordable housing, economic diversification, youth, and (this afternoon) education.

    It must be great to have so many things as your ‘top priority’.

  9. Truth (Original) says:

    You decided our children’s financial future when you stood silently by and let the PLP spend our children into a future of continual payback.

    Now you care about their future? Give it a rest.

    You all showed where your priority lied whilst you were in Government. Just look at where the money was spent.

    It wasn’t in education.

    • Sara says:

      Thank you. The hypocrisy is crippling! Bermuda for Bermudians lol yeah right.

      • Hypocricy… my foot. My thoughts stand.Looks like YOU are the FULL OF IT ONE.
        All of you —– think about is yourselves and your prosperity.
        United we stand.
        We stand FIRM.

        • Sara says:

          Where were you when we Bermuda was being put down the rabbit hole??? TURLY ask yourself that. Did you voice any concern? Did you now?

  10. Its all talk says:

    Working in Government, I seen Ministers come and Ministers go from both sides. Our biggest mistake is thinking that politicians are actually going to fix things. They come in, get their people points, nice salary dont listen to the people who actually know the business(civil servants advise, ministers decided), do things their way, flop, mess a bunch of policies up in doing so and off they go. This repeats itself and here we have issues that never get addressed. If only there was a way to take the political component out we would probably make more progress, but these guys, I just have to shake my head , its tiring to watch.

  11. Islander says:

    It would help a lot if parents were to attend the schools when they are being worked on as I have seen some sloppy work done by sub contractors which left a lot to be desired. Go to the schools and hold the workers accountable for many things. The Principlals should give each parent a punch list and when the parents attend the schools and if nothing is done properly, don’t mark it off – demand that the company or person responsible returns to do whatever it is correctly.

    Ministry of Education the same way – attend your PTA Meetings, invite your MOED people, quiz them and if they hum and haulll – they need to be gone

  12. Gertrude says:

    The lady is joking? Right?

    Here is a solution that has worked elsewhere, in particular the UK and Sweden. Government pay the school fees to send kids to independent schools, set up by various stakeholders – churches, parents associations, charitable trusts, etc. It will be cheaper per head than Government schools and, at least in the UK and Sweden, the academic results have improved dramatically. Of course, this might mean getting rid of a lot of dead wood down to MOE – and there is nobody on either side with that kind of courage as far as I can tell.

  13. Bullnose says:

    So I guess 24m on returfing a golf course should not have been a priority then. It’s good to see her admitting the PLP wasted millions of dollars.

  14. mmm says:

    At the head of each government department is a Minister. These Ministers appear to to the bidding of the Premier, and answer to their political part y. Our teachers teach our children the basics, and seek to prepare to enter the working world. For years efforts have been made to up-grade our curricu lum and scholarship awards , all of this now stands almost mute, because immigration has relaxed, to a great deal, the work permit policy…and guest workers can come and go as they please. Thus our children have very little to look forward to.

  15. wahoo says:

    Not sure but what are we doing with curriculum nowadays? We know money has to be saved but are we still pushing every kid through the ordeal as if everyone is a prodigy? I am guessing Ms. Fogo was against closing schools a month ago. How do we save money? We cannot close the urgent care clinic, we cannot make the old people suffer, we gotta make sure our roads are nice to speed on, everyone wants trash collected (twice a week), we want our kids to ride the bus for free, we want this and we want that.

    I told the OBA, be careful what you wish for.

  16. Pete says:

    The PLP took us back to the plantation with this lady and the education system

  17. jahstice says:

    No money left, the PLP ………!

  18. Widget says:

    This lady will say anything if there’s someone around to listen. In most all cases she talks to hear herself. Honestly Ms Foggo, where were you during all those years the PLP were looking after the educational system. Ask yourself what you did then to assist. I can tell you, NOTHING.

  19. Spit Bouy says:

    Lovitta Foggo: “Education Must Be Top Priority”

    How convenient, shame education wasn’t a top priority under the PLP’s 14 year tenure but hey that’s all in the past isn’t it?. Education was such a top priority under the PLP they cut millions of dollars from education and refused to deal with the millions wasted on the DOE and the millions wasted throughout their tenure. Those funds would be useful today don’t you think Lovitta?

    Didn’t maintain the schools or anything else for that matter but education & our students have always been their priority right? SMDH

  20. Frank says:

    So the PLP was in for 14 years and they did nothing to fix the problem. PLP and the OBA need to get it fixed.

  21. Jokers says:

    Throwing more money at education won’t fix the problem!!! Reorganizing the money currently in the current budget would be a great step forward. Way too much of it goes on salaries and that is why there is little left for resources. Top that with many teachers are not the strongest at teaching. The time has long passed to make the best decisions. Consolidate a few schools, double up on positions and make those who are 65 retire. Why can’t East End and St’ George’s Prep consolidate. West End and Somerset Primary can consolidate. Gilbert and Paget Primary can consolidate. Port Port Royal and Heron Bay can consolidate. Prospect and Victor Scott can consolidate. West Pembroke and Northlands can consolidate. We only need to make the decisions which ones first, chose 3 of the options and get going! Do another in a few years but lay out the plan!!! . At least if you chose from those options, no parent have to complain about their children going out of their neighborhoods. Utilize the savings from building maintenance of the closed schools to refurbish the schools over 3 years. Retire and eliminate posts at the Ministry. Class sizes can be at 20 and that won’t hurt. Just do what needs to be done. with the huge savings, we could do wonders with the refurbished buildings and the elimination of those useless posts at the Ministry. In fact you only need a Minister, Commissioner and PS. That’s It! Put the others bureaucrats into schools to instruct and manage budgets and programs until they retire.

  22. Kathy says:

    I would be interested to know the count of pupils in the government schools to see exactly what the cost is per child in Bermuda?