Video: Minister Updates On Education Initiatives

July 4, 2019

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain provided an overview of work being done within the Ministry and Department of Education.

Minister Rabain said, “Following the conclusion of the 2018/2019 academic year, I would like to take an opportunity to provide a brief overview of work being done within the Ministry and Department of Education and provide a status report on items yet to be completed.

“To begin, I would like to share a bit of good news regarding the Bermuda College and the College Promise Programme.

College Promise Programme

“Firstly, I offer hearty congratulations to the 135 graduates from The Berkeley Institute and the 94 graduates from CedarBridge Academy. I am pleased to report that this year the number of Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy graduates that will be attending the Bermuda College is 109, up from 85 last year.

“You will be reminded that in the Throne Speech this year the Government introduced the merit-based College Promise Programme, awarding scholarships to public school graduates with appropriate GPA’s who wish to attend the Bermuda College. It has been noted that the increase in public school graduates enrolling in the Bermuda College is due, in large part, to the introduction of the College Promise Programme.

TN Tatem Middle School

“I want to thank the Principal, staff, students and parents of TN Tatem Middle School for their resilience over the past three months. TN Tatem will remain closed for the 2019/2020 school year, and the TN Tatem staff and students will join the Sandys, Dellwood and Whitney school families.

“In regards to the future of TN Tatem, the decision to close is at the moment applicable to the upcoming school year only. As we move forward with our plans to reform education and phase out Middle Schools, the outcome of those discussions will frame the decisions to be made on the future of TN Tatem and its use.

“I would also like to provide an update on school uniform vouchers – which I announced earlier this year when speaking to the TN Tatem parents. Due to the closure of the school, it was announced that vouchers would be given to parents to help assist with the cost of their children’s school uniforms for their new schools. Parents will be notified of details regarding voucher amount, the process for collecting the vouchers and other logistics within the next two weeks.

End-of-Year Report Cards

“End-of-year report cards were distributed to primary and middle school students last week, on the last day of school, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Senior school students will receive their final report cards before the end of this month.

Information Technology Update

“I would like to note that the Department of Education is on schedule to increase the internet bandwidth for all schools to 100 MB [megabytes per second]. This increase in bandwidth will enable our schools to have increased access to information technology and Wi-Fi services. This progress is in alignment with Plan 2022 Strategy 4.7.5, which aims to improve the access, distribution and speed of internet in all schools.

New Ministry of Education Website

“In our endeavour to make the Ministry of Education more accessible to teachers, parents, and students, the Ministry has taken-on the project of updating its website.

“Currently, the Department of Education is training school staff to operate the back-end of the site, and we look forward to unveiling the website for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year.

“All Bermuda public schools [from preschool to high school] as well as the Department of Education and the Child Development Program, will have their own webpages within the site, to be administered by the respective school or department staff.

Principals’ Work to Rule

“The Department of Education and BPSU Principals have worked together to address the Principal’s work-to-rule matters. While Principals technically remain on work-to-rule, the Department looks forward to working with and supporting our school Principals in the upcoming school year. We value their leadership and count on them to effect continuous improvement in our schools. In support of Plan 2022 Strategy 3.4, we are looking to offer opportunities for Principal certification starting in the Fall of 2019.

Negotiations with the Bermuda Union of Teachers

“Additionally, the Department of Education and the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] will sign off on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Negotiations will re-commence during the upcoming 2019/20 school year for any changes that are to be made to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2020 and beyond. It is the Department’s position that all agreements made during negotiations will be governed by what is best for our students.

Preschool Programmes

“Under the leadership of the Assistant Director for Early Childhood Education, the Department of Education is on track for implementing an Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD] programme, and an inaugural foreign languages programme for our preschool students which will complete our range of ASD services offered to students in the Bermuda Public School System. As it relates to foreign languages, our preschool students will learn French, Spanish and Portuguese starting in September 2019. Also, I thank and congratulate the Warwick Preschool Administrator and staff on the successful implementation of the Pilot Programme for 3-year old’s during the 2018/2019 school year. I am pleased to confirm that we will continue with the pilot programme in September 2019.

STEAM Education

“The Government continues to emphasise STEAM education as one of its priorities for students, recognising the role that STEAM education will play in preparing our students for 21st-century careers.

“Under the leadership of the Education Officer for the Gifted and Talented [GATE], teachers in some of our primary schools have implemented the Engineering is Elementary [EIE] curriculum. On June 13 and 14, some of our teachers participated in the EIE training which focused on instructional pedagogy. In the upcoming school year, we will ensure more teachers receive training and that more EIE units are taught in our primary schools.

“Currently, the summer STEAM Academy for students from primary to senior level is taking place at CedarBridge Academy.

Standards-Based Education and Plan 2022

“The Standards-Based Grading [SBG] Steering Committee has done a first-class job with implementing the Year 1 activities of the four-year implementation plan. The Committee members have continued to work diligently to provide professional development for Education Officers, Principals and Teachers. Additionally, they have been consistent with visiting schools and observing instruction to monitor the use of SBG practices in the classrooms. The committee will continue its work during the 2019/2020 school year and roll out Year 2 activities of the plan. The Committee will start the new school year with a two-day workshop for teachers on September 4 and 5, 2019. This Committee remains focused on and dedicated to executing Plan 2022 adaptive strategies 1.1.1 and 3.19.

School Transformation and Phasing Out Middle Schools

“The work necessary to transform and restructure our educational system, more specifically, to phase out middle schools continues. As the planning for these advances, we will continue to provide regular updates on our progress.

“I am aware of the statement made in the House of Assembly in which the Premier noted the government’s intention to have signature schools in place by the 2020/21 school year. I also want to be clear, as the Premier was as well that day, that we will measure not once, not twice but three times before we cut. It is critical we get this transformation right the first time, so we will go at the necessary pace to ensure it is a smooth transition. We will be guided by what is right for our students, first and foremost. I also want to reinforce that there will be consultation with all stakeholders before the finalisation of any plans.

“In closing, I want to reaffirm that Plan 2022, Bermuda’s strategic plan for education, continues to be the driving force for the work carried out at the Department of Education. Staff have commenced their second year of executing strategies for Plan 2022 and performance appraisals were reviewed to ensure that every Department staff member has one or more objectives connected to Plan 2022 strategies. The Department of Education has also gone live with using the AchieveIt software tool that will assist with monitoring the implementation of delivery plans, and the execution of strategies. This software will enable the Department to produce dashboards and reports that will be posted on the Ministry of Education’s website to keep the public aware of our progress with Plan 2022.

“I wish to take this moment to extend my sincere gratitude to the Ministry and Department of Education staff for the work they have done this school year and beyond. I also thank our teachers and school staff for the tremendous work they have done this year. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank parents for their support, and wish all of our students an enjoyable and safe summer holiday.”

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “It is the Department’s position that all agreements made during negotiations will be governed by what is best for our students.”

    How interesting. Agreements will not be governed by the agree terms, but rather by what the Minister thinks is best for the students.

    Why bother having agreements with the Government at all then?