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Minister: schools will have greater autonomy under reforms

Meeting the public: Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, at last night’s town hall meeting (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Schools will have greater autonomy once an overhaul of the education is implemented, it has been claimed.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said an independent education authority will work “at arm’s length from Government” in supporting how schools run themselves.

Mr Rabain was speaking at a public meeting last night to update parents on the progress of the shake-up.

Under the reforms, eight primary schools will be closed, leaving just a single primary school in each parish. Middle schools will be abolished completely while the island’s two senior schools will offer different signature courses.

Mr Rabain told the audience at CedarBridge Academy that it was essential that schools were not subject to “day-to-day political pressure”.

He also acknowledged that there had been a history of tensions between educators and administrators.

He said: “We ought to acknowledge that the relationships between our schools, our school boards, the ministry and the Department of Education are not and have not been as free-flowing as we would like.

“The establishment of an education authority will offer the opportunity to reset, renew and clarify these relationships. We need to learn from the past to create a better future.

“Through school boards operating under the remit of the authority, school communities will enjoy a greater level of autonomy, and with input from the community, educators, parents and students. Currently the education authority is working with the framework of what it will look like.”

Mr Rabain said the Government had “reconceptualised” the way schools will be governed.

He added: “There needs to be good governance to sustain and support reform — governance that is not subject to day-to-day political pressure — governance that has the independence to be flexible and agile in ensuring the needs of Bermuda’s children, economy, community, that are best served and efficiently run.

“We need to move away from our current and seemingly subconscious philosophy of a system of schools to a collaborative school system. We need a system that supports each and every young person to be the best they can be, to follow their passions and interests, build on their talents and capabilities and achieve their aspirations — a system that is equitable, a system where all schools, while having their own ethos and culture, achieve excellence.”

He said that the authority will still hold schools accountable, but would be “supportive and enabling, not directive and controlling”.

He said: “The work to create the education authority continues — operating at arm’s length from Government, it will be responsible for supporting and enabling all schools to achieve the best possible outcomes for our students.

“We will move away from a system of schools to a school system where there is collaboration between schools in the interests of students, ensuring consistency and equity for all.”

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Published June 29, 2022 at 7:32 am (Updated June 29, 2022 at 7:32 am)

Minister: schools will have greater autonomy under reforms

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