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Education is vital to our island’s future success

Brexit. A Donald Trump presidency. These are two of many uncertainties that can potentially affect Bermuda’s future. There is one key driver, however, that in my mind is certain to affect us all — education.

Education is key to the future success of this island and to the aspirations of our students in the Bermuda of tomorrow. I have said it before and I will keep saying it: we need our education system to provide more positive experiences for our children.

Can we raise the bar in our public school system and achieve more competitive exam results? Can we do more to ensure that children going through the public school system will have the same opportunities to succeed in life as those educated through private schools?

It seems to me that we need more discussion in our community around this critical issue. This is not to say that we do not have many committed teachers and administrators; we certainly do. And they should be recognised and celebrated as role models for their peers. But I feel we are missing the mark in education, and as a community we need to address this as a matter of top priority. We must collectively accept accountability on what being part of the Bermuda family means and what responsibilities it entails.

While we are on the topic of education, let’s talk about educating those in our community who, through no fault of their own, have lost jobs or are having difficulty finding jobs because, in a changing world, the jobs that they were trained for are no longer there. I hear many Bermuda business owners and operators say that they have a hard time finding qualified Bermudians to fill jobs. At the same time, we hear of many Bermudians who are frustrated because they are being told that they do not have the skills required for those jobs. This speaks to “retooling” those individuals who deserve the pride and dignity of finding a job to support themselves and their families.

Let’s work together in 2017 to prioritise and address what is really important to the future success of our island and the ability of all Bermudians to achieve their goals in life. What better place to start than education.

John Wight is the president and chief executive officer of BF&M Group