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Schools revamp mastermind sought

All change: Diallo Rabain, the minister of education (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A project developer to draw up a plan for the shake-up of the island’s school system is being looked for by the Government.

A Request For Proposal was published last week that asked consultancy firms to submit “a strategic programme and project development plan” to kick-start the overhaul of the education system.

Applicants were asked to set up a project management office, develop a timeline and financial assessment for construction projects over the next seven years and set design standards for the classrooms of the future.

They will also be expected to create “a comprehensive road-mapping process by which expert forecasting and development viability is evaluated at specific points in the programme duration”.

The RFP asked applicants to “show how the construction and refurbishment of school buildings and the upgrade of learning environments could also provide economic stimulus for the Bermuda job market”.

Interested parties have until the end of this month to submit their applications and the Government said it hoped to select a candidate by the end of the year.

The plan is expected to take four months to draw up.

The Government unveiled plans for the shake-up of the education system last year.

The Ministry of Education embarked on a four-month consultation process over the closure of some primary schools last December.

The Government plan will see nine primary schools close, nine schools remain and one new school built in Devonshire. Middle schools will also be phased out.

The RFP said: “The objectives are to dramatically improve the quality of public education and the lifetime opportunities for all young people in Bermuda.

“As a Government, a key role is setting the vision for the future of public education, and creating the conditions in which this vision can be realised. Therefore, a profound and powerful vision has been developed supported by a wide-ranging plan for public education.

“Central to this vision is the Learning First programme which will develop internationally-recognised fit-for-purpose curricula, new teaching and learning models, and enhanced pathways to graduation and flexible learning environments.”

“These will ensure that all teachers, principals support staff, and system leaders have the professional learning and development to deliver best in class public education for all of our students.”

The RFP added that Government had set four long-term strategies – the creation of specialised schools in performing arts, science, sports and the trades, a buildings renewal plan, a “green policy”, and ensuring that pupils were “college and career ready” when they left school.

It said: “The world of work, the economy and life more generally are rapidly changing, fuelled by new technologies and social media, and accelerated by the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

“Environmental and resource pressures are intensifying. And there are still deep and historical divisions in society.

“The Bermuda education system needs to change to help young people develop the skills, knowledge, values and relationships to enable them to access – and be the creators of – the jobs of the future, to be active citizens and to tackle increasingly complex challenges.”

The RFP added: “Such learning will create a generation of young people who are engaged, adaptive, entrepreneurial, innovative, culturally connected and empowered – who can compete locally and contribute globally.“

It added that the number of primary schools had to be cut to reflect a changing Bermuda.

The RFP said: “Bermuda public schools currently educate 2,074 primary school students across 18 primary schools. Less than 20 years ago in 2002, there were 3,160 students enrolled in the same number of primary schools, a difference of 1,086 students.

“The reality is that both the birth rate, and primary school enrolment continue to decline.”

The Government added that the primary schools were between 47 years and a century old and needed significant maintenance, as well as investment.

The RFP said: “They cannot support the new teaching and learning models that are being developed to dramatically improve and transform education. There is also significant inequity across our primary schools.”

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Published September 14, 2021 at 7:51 am (Updated September 14, 2021 at 7:46 am)

Schools revamp mastermind sought

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