Education Minister On Throne Speech Initiatives

November 19, 2018

[Updated] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain is holding a press conference this morning [Nov 19] “regarding new Ministry initiatives and updates.” We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Minister Diallo Rabain press conference Bermuda Nov 19 2018

Update: In providing further information regarding the Ministry of Education’s initiatives in the Throne Speech the Minister said that Government will expand the current needs-based financial aid programme for Bermuda College, increasing last year’s $300,000 grant to $500,000.

Minister Rabain also said that Government will introduce a merit-based ‘College Promise’ programme which will allow Bermudian students graduating from public high school with a GPA of at least 3.0 to attend Bermuda College for free.

“It is estimated that a maximum of 60 students from the Bermuda Public School System will be eligible for the ‘College Promise’ programme at a cost of $279,000 per year,” the Minister said.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 17-minute replay is below

Update 12.30pm: Minister Rabain’s remarks:

Good Morning and thank you for coming

I am pleased to provide further information regarding the Ministry of Education’s initiatives as presented in the Speech from the Throne.

Increase in Financial Support for Students attending Bermuda College

In this legislative year, Government will expand the current needs-based financial aid programme to increase college access for Bermudians who cannot afford to attend Bermuda College and have a GPA of at least 2.00. Last year, Government committed $300,000 in additional financial support to the Bermuda College for student financial aid. This resulted in a total of 445 Bermudians taking advantage of the grant to upgrade their skills and work towards their associates or bachelor’s degree at the Bermuda College.

The current financial aid grant will be increased to $500,000 per year to ensure that students with a demonstrated financial need are not hindered from attending Bermuda College. These students would include, but are not limited to, students whose parents are currently receiving financial assistance from the Government, foster care students, ex foster care students and those who have recently been in the judicial system. Such a programme will also assist in breaking the generational cycles of families being on financial assistance and promote college realization to those individuals who may not otherwise consider furthering their education.

“College Promise” Initiative

Government will introduce a merit-based “college promise” programme for Bermudian students graduating from public high school with a GPA of at least 3.0 to attend Bermuda College, tuition free. The “College Promise” initiative will incentivize college attainment by rewarding students with financial support to attend Bermuda College. Some of the proven benefits associated with similar programmes are:

  • 1. Increases in college access and attainment.
  • 2. Fosters a college-going culture in the K-12 school system.
  • 3. Helps families understand that college is attainable and affordable because tuition will not have to be paid from constrained family finances
  • 4. Encourages local economic development with a more educated citizenry.

It is estimated that a maximum of 60 students from the Bermuda Public School System will be eligible for the “College Promise” programme at a cost of $279,000 per year.

Middle School and Signature School Consultation:

Prior to the PLP taking office, several focus groups and meetings were held with parents and stakeholders to obtain their input on the perceived ‘inadequacies’ in middle schools. Based on the feedback the PLP received, based on the stagnant Cambridge Checkpoint results obtained in the middle schools, and also the increased anti-social behavior amongst students in middle schools, this Government committed to reviewing new strategies to improve the student outcomes at the middle level years as well as the introduction of signature schools.

The phasing out of middle schools and the introduction of signature schools was identified as a long-term education objective. We understand that there are many questions about what this will eventually look like, and firmly believe that the answers are in our individual and collective voices. In support of our commitment, and in the spirit of authentic community engagement, the Department of Education has begun the process that is structured in three major phases.

I can report that Phase 1 has already begun. To-date, a number of stakeholder meetings have taken place with key public school education Advocates. These include members of the Parental Involvement Committee, Boards of Governors of the Aided Schools, SCORE Committee members, retired educators, Department of Education staff and some teachers. There are still many more stakeholders to reach out to. This is just the start. The data we collect will be analyzed and contribute to how we ultimately move forward.

In addition to stakeholder engagement, comprehensive research has been undertaken in revisiting the Pitt Commission and the Education Planning Team Report. We are also looking at student enrolment trend data and restructuring that has occurred in other overseas leading education jurisdictions. The work is great.

At the press conference I held in July this year I referenced developing a team to steer this initiative. The right team is critical – one that is representative of Bermuda and our public education community. Some members have already been selected and I will announce the full team once the Chairperson and the remaining members have been finalized.

Let me take this opportunity to remind the public that they can voice their opinion for or against, so that in the end, the final product is one that is in the best interest of our public school students and the future of Bermuda.

In closing, I want the public to know your Government will continue to make public school education a priority. This legislative year will see continued growth and progress in improving our public education system. The Ministry of Education will remain focused on the task at hand, we will work to restore confidence and ensure our children have the best.

Thank you, and I will now ask Dr Duranda Greene, Bermuda College President to join me for questions.

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  1. Key Stakehodlers says:

    Has the MOED met with principals about this change? When I asked my child’s principals they said no.

    Are principals next key stakeholders?