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New Education Board named

New board: Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith with the new members of the Board of Education. Chairman Curtis Dickinson is standing at right.

A new, 17-member Board of Education has been announced by Education Minister Dame Jennifer Smith.On the agenda for the board’s first meeting yesterday was a discussion of the latest test scores, new chairman Curtis Dickinson said.Flanked by Mr Dickinson and his deputy, Kim Wilkinson Outerbridge, Dame Jennifer thanked outgoing chair Darren Johnston and deputy Sen Vincent Ingham.Dame Jennifer noted one of her first tasks after being appointed Minister had been to persuade both to continue their service after they threatened to resign in October, 2010.“Not only did they rescind their resignations, but they went to work to ensure a firm foundation and a succession plan,” she said. “The success we have experienced over the last two years could not have been achieved without their leadership.”Thanks went also to members Travis Gilbert Sr and Garth Rothwell, whose terms finished in August. The new members officially took charge on September 1, for a period of one year.The new board members are: Craig Bridgewater, Keisha Douglas, Kristen Ferreira, Estlyn Harvey, Shannon James, Fanon Khaldun, Akbar Muhammad, Llewka Richards, Holly Richardson, Joseph Robinson, Ann Spurling, Patrick Tannock, Dale Young, Bermuda College president Duranda Greene and Schools Commissioner Wendy McDonnell.The board’s tasks include making recommendations to the Minister about the appointment and evaluation of key officials, as well as on educational policy, school and department budgets.The board also advises on curricula, the “vision, values and strategy” for education, improvements and effective risk management strategy for schools.

OBA: Release GCSE results now

Bermuda’s GCSE scores for the public school system are to be released following a third and final town hall meeting on education, scheduled for November 29.

Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons questioned why the “full and detailed” results weren’t being released.

“This lack of transparency is unacceptable and will only raise suspicions that there is something to hide, or that the public will be given selective data and not a full picture of the various exam results,” Dr Gibbons said.

He asked if the imminent general election was impeding their release.

“This ongoing lack of Government transparency underscores the need for an independent advocate for parents and the public,” Dr Gibbons added.

“We believe there is a real need for an independent Education Standards Board — an educational equivalent to the Auditor General — that would not come under the control of the Ministry of Education and whose function is to analyse and then release education results in a timely way to ensure that the information is accurate, fair and consistent in its reporting.”