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2005-09-29 15:16:07

Public Education In Trouble

In educational planning and administration, the nation's political directorate seems as lost as ever. This is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Today this nation's public education system is in a mess. While every one knows this to be a fact, few Bahamians -inclusive of most of the people in the Ministry and Department of Education- seem to have a clue as to what is to be done to clean things up.

All we can do at his juncture is to reiterate a point previously made in this space, which is that The Bahamian people -like people elsewhere in the region and world- want to know that the schools work: that the hospitals provide good health care; that they have sufficient food; access to proper housing; that they are protected; and that they are allowed space in which to live out their allotted days in dignity; and for sure, that the courts dispense justice as opposed to delay piled upon delay.

These and other so-called simple things are the matters that concern the people most. But what we failed to note in our previous commentary is the extent to which politicians have tricked so very many Bahamians into believing that the goods were cost free.

No goods are ever cost free. Some one always pays. People pay for what they get and what they do not get. That's life. And so, if the people want schools that work, they must be taught that they must pay.

We are today quite convinced that parents should be made to pay more for the education and schooling their children get. We are quite confident that such a regime would discourage students and their parents form being as socially irresponsible as they are today.

If it is agreed that every one has a vested interest in seeing to it that this nation's schools work, then it follows that every one should pitch in to make this a reality. There is no better way to demonstrate this commitment than by forking out real cash to pay for this education and schooling.

We are utterly convinced that Bahamian parents need to pay more attention to the education of their children. Instead of complaining about what the Government is or is not doing, the average family should be made to pay something - in the form of mandatory fees- for the schooling their children get.

The current regime is failing the nation's children and their parents. As it does, those who believe that they are getting something for free are not taking care of what they are getting, thus the terrible state of most of those schools that are public property.

We believe that the time has come for the creation of a new pact for education between Government, the private sector, the Church and this nation's householders and the nation's youth.

In our considered judgment, the time has come for the Government to send for help in this matter concerning education and schooling in The Bahamas.

This nation's education system is in need of urgent overhaul. No matter what form this overhaul ultimately takes; we are convinced that the solution should not be left to the Government.

Put bluntly, education is too important to the growth and development of the Bahamian nation for it to be entrusted to such a large degree to the attention of politicians and bureaucrats.

The facts are clear that politicians and bureaucrats and their ilk are precisely the kinds of people who could not care less if the system continues on its current course.

As per usual, whenever they are challenged they come forward with the same tired promises and stratagems. And the failures continue.

One of the latest and perhaps more asinine ploys has been that of trying to explain how it comes to be that a D+ average is a step in the right direction for the nation's public school system.

Amazingly there are Bahamians who say - and with a straight face, to boot- that this is indeed an improvement! But when you check them out, truth is their children all attend the other school system; where money talks and teachers are accountable.

This -in a nut shell- is where things should be headed for all Bahamians.

In educational planning and administration, the nation's political directorate seems as lost as ever. This is a case of the blind leading the blind. In the distance, a ditch awaits the so-called educators and their political masters.

Editorial from The Bahama Journal

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