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It is the people’s right to question any government

Once again Bermuda seems to be drifting into a troubling period where even those without strong political attachments are very concerned as to whether the government of the day is really in touch with critical issues that most Bermudians want addressed without the political posturing. That occurs too often when problems threaten to shatter public confidence.

We all know beneath the social surface that Bermuda remains a divided society, especially in the area of politics, and the racial factor stemming from our history has left wounds that have yet to heal.

Despite significant social progress over the years, not without painful moments, Bermuda has managed to steer clear of that social iceberg that has plunged a number of countries into utter chaos.

That is a situation Bermuda should be able to avoid, with such a small population and limited land space.

However, no matter how many promises governments make before being elected, they often find that reality is somewhat different from dreams of getting everything right in dealing with the affairs of public life.

Criticism of the Government should never be seen only as coming from those who want them to fail.

That may be true to some degree, but generally the electorate is always hopeful that any new government would leave no stone unturned in tackling difficult problems, while mindful that the public are watching closely.

This will always be a challenge for any government because over the years a lot has changed in how various situations are handled compared with the way things were 40 or 50 years ago.

Our educational system has been a matter of concern for years, and different governments have had rocky periods while trying to upgrade and introduce new methods of teaching to keep abreast of international standards.

At one stage, there was an almost revolving door for education ministers in the quest to find the right person to handle the many complexities involved in modern education standards.

Apart from the complex modern methods some of us from the old school never dreamt of, teachers today are confronted with changing behavioural patterns, perhaps because the family structure has changed over the years, with children exposed to a wide range of negative material via advances in communication technology.

Teachers, who are the people on the front lines, experience the challenges of trying to teach and control a problem student without the type of discipline that existed decades ago.

Discipline back then was not only in the schools, but was usually well supported by the family structure.

Things have changed considerably in this area, and as education teaching techniques have changed, even the best-trained teacher faces an enormous task in coping with highly complex programmes, in addition to controlling classes that include children prone to disruptive behaviour.

The Government has the awesome responsibility of monitoring the situation in order to stay on top of potential weaknesses, which could make it difficult for teachers to effectively get students to produce their best.

Education is far more than what happens in the classroom.

This means parents need to play a greater role in what students do at home, in conjunction with various school projects.

This can be a daunting task, with parents today at times working at such a pace that student-parent conversations are rare.

While the Government cannot control activity at home, the teacher must have a greater voice in highlighting problems in schools that hinder progress.

Criticism from the public sector of any government should be welcomed if they wish to operate in an open manner to improve a situation for the good of the country.

Education is most important and the electorate must always have the right to question any matter they feel is essential in giving our children the very best.

Governments do things that meet with approval from supporters and non-supporters at times — and that is positive. However, they must also expect to be questioned on any issue, including education.