Column: Taking The Politics Out Of Education

July 7, 2022 | 13 Comments

[Opinion column written by PLP MP Jason Wade]

“The children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way” – lyrics from “The Greatest Love of All.”

It has been said that Bermuda’s most excellent resource is our people; without investment in our people, particularly our youth, that resource will be depleted.

That is why reforming our education system is so important. The proposed changes are a response to falling confidence in our schools and the steadily increasing flood of students departing for the private schools. Our children deserve better, and we are determined to provide them with a world-class education that will restore confidence and give our teachers the resources they need and our children the education they deserve.

Over the past year, one of Bermuda’s longest-serving Education Ministers, Diallo Rabain, has been crossing the country to make sure that parents and other stakeholders are fully informed and involved in the educational reform process.

What we propose is:

  • The closure of eight primary schools with the replacement of a new and improved primary school for each parish
  • The ending of the failed middle school system
  • The introduction of Signature Schools at the high school level
  • The creation of school boards to govern the operation of each public school on the island
  • The formation of an Education Authority

Parents have told us that they no longer want the education of their children to be used as a political football and an end to the recurring public disputes between the schools, school boards, Education Ministry, and the Department of Education.

The new Education Authority will offer the opportunity to reset, renew and improve those relationships while taking politics out of the equation.

The new school boards will give the schools in our community a greater level of autonomy and provide opportunities for more significant input from the community, educators, parents, and students.

From listening to our constituents on the doorstep and conversations with stakeholders, we understand the public desire for our schools’ efficient and successful operation without day-to-day political pressure and with the independence to be flexible and agile in delivering quality education for our children.

Through our collaborative reform process, we will create an education system that supports every young Bermudian, enables them to follow their passions and interests, build on their talents and capabilities and help them reach their full potential.

- Jason Wade, Constituency 30 – Southampton East Central

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Comments (13)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    So, just so everyone is aware, that the “failed middle school system” was supported by none other than the great educator herself. The not so subtle dig at the UBP does you no favours.

    Everything in Bermuda needs less political interference. That’s a good idea, but if we’re handing back. control to local school boards, I presume we will see a reduction in the headcount in the Dept. of Education with associated budget reductions?

    And, following that theme, will the PLP leave the BTA alone to get on with its job? Nah, didn’t think so.

    • LOL says:

      “dig at the UBP does yo no favours” Who cares it’s 30-5 and 1 jet gate! Your party=ubpobass can’t even find Mr. Dickensons and Ms. Smiths to help you win elections anymore.

      • partyrockin says:

        The PLP have been in power for how long and they are still going to blame the UBP? Why did the PLP push to build the Berkely Middle school if it was such a bad idea? Some of us know the $60 million truth? If it was a bad idea what were the previous 5 or 6 elected Education Ministers doing while getting paid? Why doid it take 20 years for someone in the PLP to do something about it. In the time it has taken the PLP to create a plan to “fix this” many children have started P1 and graduated. So who failed them would you say. And still nothing has been done except plan to make changes. Its taken this same group 18 years to revamp a bus schedule, what chance do you think the ministry of education has of creating real change in a hurry. Zero

        • saud says:

          “The PLP have been in power for how long and they are still going to blame the UBP?”

          It is what those, without a clue, do.

      • sandgrownan says:

        You do know the real JetGate involved DREB, and involved real tax payers money and real no bid contracts. That’s the real crime.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          No one EVER comes back to respond to this fact no matter how many times they are faced with it.

  2. Go for it says:

    Many schools will struggle to find school boards after a 2 year halo. Public fights resignations and court cases will abound. Little meaningful progress will be made in the vast majority of schools. The Education Minister,however, will sing the praises of the successful two. In the USA where such boards are prevalent, parents move to private ed. Same will happen here. The middle school system failed when it’s leading proponents retired and the incoming group lacked the vision,interest and ability to move it from a Junior High concept.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Parents have told us that they no longer want the education of their children to be used as a political football and an end to the recurring public disputes between the schools, school boards, Education Ministry, and the Department of Education.”

    The same was said about the BTA and the Gaming Commission, but the PLP Government changed the law to assert control over both bodies. Why should we believe that an education authority would fare any better?

    • sandgrownan says:

      It won’t. They are liars. The PLP have never passed on an opportunity to interfere.

  4. watching says:

    Good stuff MP Wade.
    I really look forward to the education reform as its phased in. I think the Government is on the right track and am hopeful for the first time in many years. Minister Rabain and his team is doing it right.

    The naysayers will continue to criticize but the proof will be in the eating.

  5. hey says:

    OBA ALL THE WAY…..ALL THE WAY OBA.

  6. CD says:

    Education needs *more* political accountability, not less. We have seen from the Tourism Authority, the Regulatory Authority and the Gaming Commission that these Quangos can spend millions doing nothing for years, because they spend other people’s money and those people have no say.

    The problem isn’t that “politics is in education”. The problem is that ministers of both parties haven’t made any real reforms except spending cuts, and everyone shrugs their shoulders. In other places where I have lived, parents kick up a huge fuss when their local schools close, but when the Government does it in Bermuda, no one seems to care.

  7. question says:

    Education won’t improve until Bermuda’s public schools are willing and allowed to hire the best teachers they can find in the world, regardless of where they come from. At the moment it’s a closed shop, just like pot washers. The interests of the union are put way ahead of the interests of the students.

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