Rabain accuses OBA of ‘condemning’ students
Diallo Rabain has taken aim at the One Bermuda Alliance's educational policies and said the former government “condemned” students.
In an impassioned speech, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development said: “The future of our country down the drain for four years.
“Yes, I'm upset. I'm mad. I am absolutely furious that I have to stand here today and tell every single one of you over there that that's what you did to our children.”
Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday, Mr Rabain said the slashing of the Department of Education budget had hampered the island's public schools.
Recently released figures showed that only a quarter of middle school students are attaining a target set for maths by the Department of Education.
Mr Rabain said: “Last week I released the Cambridge Checkpoint exams that covered their time.
“The public have been outraged at what they have seen. Rightfully so.
“I demanded that those results be released to show everybody exactly what we are working with now.
“If you listen to the public, they are very disappointed. They are up in arms. Why are our children still performing at the levels they are performing?”
Mr Rabain said the OBA had left the post of educational officers for maths and science vacant since 2012 because of the “financial brilliance of the OBA”.
He added: “How do you freeze two of the most important posts in education and expect our grades to improve? How do you do that?
“They were funded, but just not allowed to fill them. Well guess what? They will be funded and they will be filled this year.”
He said the education officers were tasked with driving education in the schools, ensuring that teachers were doing what they were supposed to be doing.
He added: “When they froze these posts, they condemned our children. They condemned them, and they should be ashamed.”
The Budget Reply by Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, said the Government would be “slashing funding for improved educational standards” by 35 per cent.
However, Mr Rabain said the cut came from a reduction of consultants that had been doing the work of unfilled civil servant positions.
“Those education officers whose posts remained funded and unfilled, there was a brilliant idea by some that they would hire consultants to sort-of fill those rolls,” he said.
“And guess what? Those consultants were paid 20 per cent more than the civil servant posts. They were in place for two years.
“That 35 per cent was the money we were paying consultants because your policies didn't allow us to replace the people that should have been there in the first place.”