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Natl Scholars case reports misleading & adversarial?

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Providenciales, 25 Feb 2016 – The Ministry of Education is adamant that it has won 11 of the 12 allegations mounted against them in that law suit where three students challenged whether the 2014 selection process for National Scholars was fair and followed.

In a release from the Minister, there is explanation that the case questioned Hon Akierra Missick’s discretion or good judgment; charging, according to the statement, that the Minister “acted irrationally”. Well, the Minister denies that there was any irrational decision and contends that the judge agrees.

It was said, “She noted that the Minister among other things, did not act irrational, acted within her authority and there was no breach of natural justice and based on the policy must look at the results over a two year period.”

Despite this point, the bottom line for those following the case is that the Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands ultimately quashed the selection decision of the National Scholars Committee for the year 2014 and has asked them to return to the table because the decision was not fair to Tristan Greene and Ryesha Higgs.

The Ministry of Education said in that media release that there was irresponsible reporting and that the public was misled in those reports. Some were chided by the Ministry for making the story adversarial, yet in the very same statement issued by the Ministry of Education there are constant uses of words and phrases like ‘challenge’, ‘against’, ‘ruled in favor’, ‘allegations’, ‘were not satisfied’ and more … including the most glaring of all, ‘judicial review’.

These words and phrases are evidence that it is not the media or general public which created an adversarial situation; but those involved in the case directly namely: the Minister of Education, the National Scholars Committee, Tristan Greene, Davonte Smith and Ryesha Higgs and of course their parents. This was a dispute that went to the court because it needed a judge to settle a disagreement.

Education also says its statement was issued in part, to make clear that this case was about the process and not the players. The win on the one allegation for the trio of students, was the major matter and it was a major victory which now has the power to see the process of selection altered.

From the Ministry of Education’s press release of late Wednesday, “The court did observe that it is time for a review of the policy. This is an ongoing process. Based on the judgment of Justice Ramsay, the Minister will reconsider the matter in light of the court’s analysis. The court did rule that the Minister’s decision not to award the title of National Scholar on Greene and Higgs based on the criteria applied by committee and the names offered from principals to the subcommittee was wrong.”

Wrong. And it is that fact that will send this committee back to the drawing board, and as the Minister stated herself, will now have to name both Tristan Greene, an A level student at British West Indies Collegiate and Ryesha Higgs, a biology student at Long Island University in New York, as 2014 National Scholars.

As for what scholarship reward each will receive; that resolve remains unresolved until the Committee meets.

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Caribbean News

Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students

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PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Scores of students in Providenciales will benefit from back-to-school supplies donated by Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, strengthening the instructional process in four schools at the start of the new school term.

More than 2,000 students from Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron, Oseta Jolly and the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools were presented with a generous supply of educational materials including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, knapsacks, reading material, sports gear and musical instruments from members of the philanthropic arm of the family all-inclusive resort. While sharing the gratitude for the gifts received, the leaders at the various institutions lauded the efforts of the more than 20 volunteers on hand.

Neekimo King, Principal of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation over the years have adopted our institution as their own. These reading books will go a far way in increasing our library stock and improving literacy among the students while the physical education and the guidance counseling units have received lots of materials to bolster the learning experience for our students.”

Sophia Garland, Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School was equally elated as she expressed how beneficial resources will be for the teaching and learning process.

“These supplies, including the books, will definitely aid in increasing literacy amongst the students and the many teaching aids that we have been received will create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning.”

In sharing with the schools, James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches resort noted, “Sandals Foundation and the resort remain committed to the development of the education of our children, the environment and the communities in which we operate. These four government operated primary schools were identified for these supplies to help in fostering their academic and extra-curricular growth.”

McAnally continued, “A big thank you to the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors who came out and helped with making these distributions possible.”

Vice principal of the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Diana Dean, also expressed gratitude noting, “With these tools, I am sure the students will be excited about learning and the teachers will be better equipped to deliver the lessons.”

The Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort have long been supporters of education and community development in Turks and Caicos, donating to a number of schools and youth sports programmes. Since 2011, the organisations have been assisting students at Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron Primary Schools and other schools across the islands in their holistic development by providing educational supplies and the opportunity for Sandals and Beaches resorts guests to meaningfully engage with the students through a weekly literacy enhancement programme, hosted in partnership with Island Routes Tours – Reading Road Trip.

 

Captions: 

Header: Staff and students from the Enid Capron Primary School share a moment for the cameras with members of the Sandals Foundation team as the school received educational items from the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation.

Insert: James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos (front left) makes a presentation to members of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School recently with sporting gear and educational items looking on are members of the Sandals Foundation team, Sesame Street Character

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Crime

PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.

 The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.

 As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.

 The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.

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Bahamas News

UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment

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#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.

Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.

Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.

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