Rabain unveils new plan for public schools
A new plan for public schools was unveiled in the House of Assembly yesterday.
Targets include 75 per cent of all public school pupils up to recognised standards in reading and mathematics inside five years.
School principals will be given powers to hire staff, while national health and safety standards will be applied to all schools.
In addition, pupils will be given better preparation for college or vocational training.
The Government also pledged a 30 per cent increase in funding for public education and a 50 per cent boost in funds for professional development of teachers.
The promises came in Plan 2022, tabled in the House of Assembly by Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education.
Mr Rabain said the plan was designed to improve public education but avoid the “waves of change” that had damaged the schools system in the past.
He added: “Plan 2022 will be the driving force to ensure that the Board of Education, the Ministry and the Department of Education, inclusive of the Child Development Programme and all schools focus on the entire public education system, from birth to graduation so that all students are educated to lead personally and professionally, compete locally and contribute globally.”
The plan includes five priority areas — higher academic standards and pupil engagement, good preparation for further education or work, improving the standard of teaching and the leadership of school principals, better infrastructure and teaching resources, and ensuring the overall success of the school system.
The plan made no direct mention of the potential for schools closures to make the system more efficient — a move explored in the schools reorganisation Score Report drawn up by the former OBA government.
The plan also failed to mention signature schools which were discussed by American-based education expert Jeremiah Newell, who helped develop the strategic plan.
Dr Newell was hired under the One Bermuda Alliance on the introduction of the national strategic plan for public education earlier this year.
The plan aims for between 70 and 75 per cent of pupils to get a score at college entrance levels in recognised school-leaving exams and to be proficient oradvanced in Cambridge curriculum checkpoints.
The plan also wants 90 per cent of pupils who need learning support to be identified and helped.
The number of pupils with major truancy problems will be cut by 25 per cent, while referrals for discipline will be cut by same amount.
The plan will also introduce “modern and high-quality technical/vocational programmes” starting at M1 level and at M2, with a work placement in M3.
More subjects will be taught and the dual enrolment programme run with Bermuda College will be expanded.
A total of 90 per cent of teachers will be certified in their field by 2022, with 60 per cent reaching “highly qualified” status.
In addition, 90 per cent are expected to attain certification in leadership.
The report said: “High-quality instruction and school leadership have the single greatest school-based impact on student success.”
Deputy principals will also work as instructional coaches.
Parent power is also set to increased with Parent Councils having a say in school budgets.
The plan promised that 75 per cent of schools will get adequate IT equipment.
The Progressive Labour Party platform’s midterm education objectives promised that “all schools have functioning computer labs so our students have access to the latest technology”.
Teachers will also get regular training in IT under a technology policy.
The report also highlighted the need for “appropriate and equitable” wi-fi resources designed to help meet academic goals. It added the Government will “improve access, distribution and speed of internet in all schools”.
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