Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Jerome Fitzgerald, visited Abaco on July 12-13 to inspect the “physical plan of the government schools” across Abaco and was pleased with the general conditions of the schools here.
Mr. Fitzgerald spoke of the need to focus more time on core subjects in schools “as we move forward to improve our educational system so that the students are not only prepared for the jobs that will come online but to be able to compete in the twenty-first century.”
He said that his ministry is very concerned with how “crowded” the primary school curriculum is and that they are moving before school starts to have the offerings reduced and focused more on the “three r’s” (reading, writing and arithmetic) to ensure there is an increased amount of contact hours in the core subjects.
“We want to bring our comprehension reading and math levels up because right now we are scoring too low in those areas,” he said.
“We need to make sure our kids are able to take advantage of the technology that comes on stream to not only be able to compete in a global environment but also to be a contributor in what is going on in technology and science across the globe.”
He noted that they are aware that Abaco has always done well as far as their results are concerned. “I’m very pleased with that,” he said.
Regarding the problem with overcrowding in a number of classrooms he noted that there are certain schools here in Abaco and in places in Nassau where nearby communities are shrinking while others are growing faster than the government can adjust.
He said “As we see these shifts in population sometimes it happens faster than our ability to build a school – we are trying to do our best under the circumstances.
“I give credit to the teachers and administrators for dealing with the [overcrowding] situation as best they can, and so far they are doing a good job under the circumstances,” he said.
Mr. Fitzgerald had the opportunity to meet with many of the administrators, principals and teachers of the Abaco’s schools during his visit. He said he is looking forward to working with them over the next few years and wants to assure them that “my ministry is totally supportive of them and we will do whatever we can to continue to improve education not only in Abaco, but throughout the Bahamas.”
He noted that some schools in Abaco have some repairs to do over the next few weeks which the ministry will get to right away.