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Schools consultant deal extended to October 2024

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, announced a second contract extension with Innovation Unit Australia/New Zealand (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A foreign consultant drafted in to help redesign Bermuda’s public education system has had its contract extended a second time, bringing the total price tag close to $6 million.

The latest agreement with Innovation Unit Australia/New Zealand, which runs from November 2023 to October 2024, will cost the taxpayer $1,887,453.

An earlier contract was funded to the tune of $1.9 million and the original deal came in at $2.1 million. The latest contract brings the total to $5,856,107.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said the investment “underscores our unwavering dedication to educational reform and progress in Bermuda”.

The school system redesign has seen the introduction of Bermuda’s first two signature schools and first two parish primary schools.

However, it has also been beset by challenges, not least a backlash from members of the community regarding the criteria set to determine which of the island’s 18 public primary schools should be closed.

Mr Rabain said: “Our efforts, however profound, are not yet complete. We stand at a pivotal moment in our journey, calling upon every Bermudian to participate in this transformative process.

“The renewal of this contract is not just an investment in a partnership but an investment in the future of Bermuda's education. It's a call to action for all of us.

“As we move forward, our focus remains on ensuring that the foundation we build today will empower future generations.

“The investment of $1,887,452.78 is not just a financial figure — it's a reflection of our commitment to the future of our children and our nation.”

Other challenges with the education reform process included a plan to send all primary school pupils attending schools in St George’s to the Whitney Institute in Smith’s for two years while renovations were carried out at East End Primary School, which was chosen as the parish primary school for St George’s.

The plan was swiftly ditched after parents and other education stakeholders vociferously opposed it.

The opening of the first two parish primary schools at their permanent locations has also been delayed owing to construction work aligning the school buildings with the Government’s reform plans.

The Government asked for volunteers to join school transformation teams to help drive forward the next stages of education reform, including to help design the next signature learning programmes and parish primary schools.

They will be responsible for designing, prototyping and implementing new models of teaching, learning and schooling.

Mr Rabain added: “Together, we can reshape our educational landscape for the betterment of all Bermudians. Bermuda, we need you.

“Your involvement, voice and dedication are crucial in this journey of educational transformation.”

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Published December 08, 2023 at 10:56 am (Updated December 11, 2023 at 6:48 pm)

Schools consultant deal extended to October 2024

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