Minister of Education, The Honourable T. Desmond Bannister delivered the news that parents of students attending North Andros High School in Nicoll’s Town wanted to hear at a community meeting held at the school on Friday, 10th September, 2010. The news that five much needed teachers would arrive beginning Monday 13th September, 2010 was received with great applause. Minister Bannister also told the packed auditorium that the school would be receiving the furniture that it required to be fully functional by next week.
The Minister noted that the delay in the teacher postings was due to fact that the Ministry thought is best to obtain financial clearance before assigning this school year. He further explained that in previous years many teachers were posted and no approvals for their salaries were given thus it sometime took years for those individuals to be paid their appropriate salaries and the Ministry had to pay out thousands of dollars in arrears. The Minister also stated that he was also not prepared to post teachers until they were properly vetted by the police. He told the North Androsians that they knew first hand the problem of teachers preying on children and he was attempting to avoid this at all cost.
The community meeting was the second held in two days to address concerns of parents of school-aged children in the North and Central districts of Andros. During the meeting the Minister reiterated his appeal for parents to partner with the schools in their children’s education and not leave it exclusively to the teachers.
Minister Bannister also expressed his disappointment that parents are not teaching their children who are the leaders of the country and the nation builders that descended from Andros. He recounted that during his tour of the schools in the district very few students knew who the country’s leaders were in the past and the present. He urged parents to assist teachers in this regard as many of them are non-Bahamians.
Mr. Benjamin Pratt, a parent and Ministry of Tourism’s Andros Office manager raised the issue of the opening of the technical block which has been completed but not opened on the campus. Minister Bannister was guarded in his response noting that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Works are currently conducting an investigation in the building relative to its the cost, construction and approval for occupancy. He told the audience that the Government is not satisfied with the result and until such time the building will not be opened.
Another important issue which the Minister addressed was discipline of students at the North Andros High School.
He told the parents that they have to do more to ensure that their children learn respect and manners for their teachers and their peers. This concern prompted several parents to openly express that over the years discipline has been a problem at the school and in some cases their own children have been involved.
The parents agreed that discipline starts in the home and they would adopt a no-tolerance approach to violence in the schools and hold their children accountable for their actions.
Additionally, they apologized to the Principal of the school Mrs. Terrice Curry for not supporting the school in the past and assured of their cooperation in the future. The parents also commended Mrs. Curry for the schools outstanding results in recent BJC and BGCSE examinations.
The Minister will visit schools in the South Andros district in October 2010 to meet with teachers, students and community leaders.
Ministry of Education