Shadow Minister: ‘Disheartening & Unfortunate’

October 11, 2017

“This past week has been very disheartening, and unfortunate for the senior management team of the Department of Education,” Shadow Minister of Education Cole Simons said.

Mr Simons said, “How is it that the first dedicated Bermudian male Commissioner of Education was subjected to a break down in a routine human resource process, i.e. probation management protocol? How was it that he was supposedly fired one day and reinstated the next?

“On October 2nd the Minister of Education made his position clear in regards to the so called dismissal of the Education Commissioner: ‘This Government is serious about progressing public education in Bermuda and, as such, supports the Board of Education and the Public Service Commission in their efforts to employ the most suitable people to lead our public schools.’

Mr Simons said the Ministry and the Public Service Commission are “tracking back”, calling it an ‘administrative error’, saying “these comments are expected, as the Minister and Cabinet have been kept abreast of the situation from the very beginning.”

“What have they done to remediate this matter and bring it to a conclusion? It appears they would rather sit back and watch the very unfortunate matter unfold to the detriment of our students and the delivery of education services.

“This untenable position has dramatically impacted the confidence in leadership, the delivery of Bermuda educational services, and Dr. Evans’s professional career.

“What is going on in the Ministry of Education and the Public Service Commission? Why in the first instance, did the Ministry of Education release an unauthorized statement which indicated that Dr. Evans was relieved of duties, and then a few days later, the Public Service Commission states that there was an administrative error, and that Dr. Evans was reinstated but not permanently confirmed in the post? What is the hidden agenda, and who is driving it?

“Was the Commissioner positioned to succeed?

“When the Commissioner took on the role, why was he not provided with a proper professional development plan? In addition, why during the probationary period was he given positive interim performance reports which were presented to the Public Service Commission [PSC], but when it came to the final assessment, he was deemed to be woefully lacking? What event or events took place that led to this unfavourable appraisal?

“In light of the above, due to not adhering to the PSC’s probationary management protocols, it appears that the Government may now end up in court, because the senior level of the Ministry of Education and the PSC had not followed due process.

“A dark cloud now hangs over the competence of the senior team at the Ministry of Education, and the delivery of educational services to all of Bermuda’s students.

“Given all this, is now the time to provide governance training and support to the senior management team at the Ministry of Education, so that these human resource challenges do not recur?

“Had I continued as Education Minister I would have consulted with the public to broadly explore the concept of extending an ‘authority’ approach to Education similar to Bermuda Tourism Authority, given its success.

“Our children have been exposed to the ebbs and flows of politics for too long! They need a system that provides consistent professional and accountable leadership so that public education can work for this and future generations.

“Like the rest of Bermuda I believe that this matter must be satisfactorily resolved, so that these issues are placed behind us. The Ministry’s senior management team must focus sharply on the completion of the new national multi year strategic plan, which sets out national priorities, and educational initiatives that the people of Bermuda have identified.

“The Ministry must focus on the delivery of Bermuda educational services, and the development of empowered successful young people, who are equipped for the workforce and tertiary education.”

Bernews asked the Education Ministry for a response, and will update if able.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Um.... says:

    Why are we hearing from him so much now?

    • UM:
      I wholeheartedly agree.
      The only thing Cole can do is ” blow off artificial steam.”
      He,along with his oba people, attended a graduation at Berkeley, only months ago. Dr. Curtis-Tweed BLASTED all of them(Dunkley included). She stated that oba had money for AMERICA CUP, but next to nothing for Berkeley.
      Cole needs to sit down.
      Finding his identity could be a great start for him. He has lost it.
      Grant Gibbons was another part of the public schools’ problems!!
      If you recall, they squashed ALL of the P.L.P. ideas.
      Well, what goes around has come around….NOW!!!

    • Onion Juice says:

      Thats what we pay him for, absolutely nuffin.

    • Yahoo says:

      There’s only 12 of them left – tough to mix things up much!

  2. watching says:

    Everyone wants this resolved, but this administrative nightmare is not rooted in any political party, and MP Simons knows this. He is simply politicizing this which is unfortunate.
    MP SImons can speak all the coulda, woulda, shouldas that he wants to, he did virtually nothing as Minister of Education and the public decided that his party should not be governing Bermuda.
    The confidence is clearly with the PLP and Minister Rabain.

  3. A Chap called Vanz says:

    In terms of education, both political parties have failed.

    However, they both excel when it comes to criticising each other over the issues in this particular ministry.

  4. You should ask OBA this says:

    “When the Commissioner took on the role, why was he not provided with a proper professional development plan?”

    You should ask your party this as they were the ones in government at the time!

  5. Time to change the name back UBP 100% says:

    It was disheartening and unfortunate when the UBP made you Minister of Education, but fortunate for us that most public school teachers are smarter than you.

    • Yahoo says:

      Most {insert anything} are smarter than him. Too bad he somehow scored a safe seat and we can’t get rid of him.

  6. Mr. W says:

    Playing devils advocate are we? At first I mis-read the title and his title and thought it was the Education Minister asking these questions, and thought to myself – aren’t you supposed to be providing the answers to these, not asking them? Then I caught my error…and now understand that unfortunately the answers will never see the light of day…to the detriment of all. How I wish some heads would roll…and not Mr. Evans’ either!

    • jt says:

      It’s likely to cost us some money too. But that’s o.k. now.

  7. aceboy says:

    All you have to do these days is look at any picture of Brown in the paper. Arms folded, stern faced, and a complete “We don’t care what you think” attitude in body language.

  8. Politricks says:

    The overwhelmingly intellectual rebuttals from the PLPers shows that Bermuda has a bright future (sarcasm).