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BAHAMAS: Teachers Key to Moving to Digital

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#Freeport, GB, November 17, 2018 – Bahamas – Teachers will be key to the success in ‘digitalizing’ learning institutions in the country, said Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd during the Grand Bahama Technology Summit on Friday, November 16, 2018.

Being held under the theme, “The Future is Now,” the summit was officially opened by Prime Minister, Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert Minnis, on Wednesday. The event is being held at the Grand Lucayan and ends today.

Minister Lloyd further stated that the government’s education system is made up of 172 school campuses and 60 satellite buildings that provide support for schools all over the country’s islands and cays, and each island deserves the same quality of education and opportunities as those in the urban centres of Nassau and Freeport.

There are approximately 50,000 students from pre-k to grade 12 and 5,000 in tertiary institutions, along with about 25,000 in the private sector. It is challenging, said Minister Lloyd, to provide quality education with a cohort of between 4 to 6,000 teachers, especially specialized teachers in the areas of math and the sciences.

The government started the digitization of the educational system as soon as they came to office in 2017.  He said, that in this day’s environment, the most effective tool for ensuring closure of the gap between performance and expection is technology.

The Minister of Education said that on September 9, 2018, the government formed a relationship with BTC and Cable Bahamas to provide fibre optic infrastructure to the 172 schools.

“This is a three-year, $17 million initiative; this year, we expect to spend approximately $8 million in this particular exercise.

“You will recognize that the intention is that we want every single school campus to be a smart school. That is, fully integrated utilizing the latest technology particularly as it relates to our far flung islands where we are not able, year after year, to provide those critical teachers in specialized areas — once again, like I indicated, in math and the sciences.”

The accomplish this, he continued, it will be done in phases. In the first phase, all districts will be linked with the fibre optic capability so that the schools and buildings will have full internet/Wi-Fi capacity. To date, many schools do not have full internet or Wi-Fi capability.

“So this fibre optic capability is going to provide internet access and Wi-Fi network — what we call the United Unified Threat Management Security Solution — and will also give those campuses, those teachers, those institutions, those districts the ability for students to come with their own devices.”

Phase two has already begun, continued the Minister, in that pre-primary and primary school students are receiving tablets and laptops. Some 29,000 devices will be distributed over the next 12 to 18 months.

Phase three, or EMIS, Education Management Information System is the information that will enable personnel at the Ministry of Education the ability to “recognize, understand, manipulate as necessary and to plan effectively what the requirements are for our institutions, our school systems going forward next year, next five years, next 25 years.”

The system will also permit parents and stakeholders to engage with the educational system and allow the Minister himself to know what is going on with any given school, classroom or student and provide reports on where the Ministry is with regard to the delivery of education.

“This process will facilitate student enrolment, engagement with parents, and the opportunity for administration and administrators to know precisely what is going on throughout the system.”

Minister Lloyd said that with a population of over 400,000, the country has many people who may not have completed high school, and there are some adults who may want to further their education: for those people, he continued, this system will give them the opportunity.

Referred to as MOOC — Massive Open Online Courses, it will give people the opportunity to finish high school as well as those who feel they need to upgrade their skills.

“What we have found in our system is that we are introducing a tool with which many adults are not comfortable, I’m talking about teachers. They do not have the ease, the facility, that our younger people have and so they are, quite honestly, afraid.”

He continued, “At the centre of this transformation is the teacher. In fact, I prophet to you this. It is us older folks that need to close the gap with the younger children that we are teaching. Our three and four-year-olds are coming to school already somewhat technologically savvy.

“[At] The heart of this transformation in digitizing our educational system — we can lay down all the fibre optic we want… but if our teachers do not come along, and in fact get ahead of the curve a little bit, then the system is going to fail.”

Many of the teachers in the system have not become comfortable with technology, and so there is now a “systematic sustained transition” so that teachers can move from analog to digital.  He continued, “This for us is the most fundamental objective and process that we must undertake, and that’s not a tomorrow exercise or a next year or next five years. We’ve got to do that at the Mabel Walker Institute and other training environments, right now.

“The success of this roll out, this 21st century experience is dependent upon the teachers.”

While once the teachers stood at the blackboard and taught the class, it is no longer the case he said.  Students are no longer taught to regurgitate, but solve problems, and teachers are the facilitators of this.

 

By Robyn Adderley

Release: BIS

 

 

DIGITIZING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM – Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, told attendees of the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit, November 16, 2018 that the government is in the process of digitizing the entire educational system in the country so that all students have access to the same quality of education.   (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

 

ROBOTICS DEMONSTRATION – Students of the Bishop Michael Eldon High School, making up Northern Bahamas SECME, held a Vex Robotics demonstration during the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit on Friday, November 16, 2018.  (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

 

 

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Works Minister tours capital works projects in East Grand Bahama

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#TheBahamas, October 26, 2021 – Minister of Public Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears, on Thursday visited areas of East Grand Bahama on a familiarization tour.

Accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Baccus Rolle and Director of Public Works Melanie Roach, the delegation was joined by Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey; Senator James Turner; Senator Kirk Russell; Permanent Secretary Harcourt Brown and Island Administrator Sharon Williams.

The delegation visited Water Cay and was able to examine the damaged dock; the design of the reconstructed dock has already been completed.  They visited McClean’s Town Clinic and toured Sweeting’s Cay where some buildings have been condemned, while others have been completed but need to be inspected.

After Sweeting’s Cay they viewed the damage done to the Sea Wall in High Rock. The proposed site for the comprehensive school for East Grand Bahama was also inspected.

It was at the dock in McClean’s Town that Minister Sears addressed the media. He said the purpose of the visit was to survey the capital works projects, and also get briefings from staff.

Minister remarked that it was indeed inspiring to see the generosity of international NGOs such as Core that contributed to the redevelopment and restoration of some of the infrastructure.

The Minister continued, “And of course [there’s] the University of The Bahamas where a lot of work has been done to the building and repurposing of the building to establish a center of research around sustainability and resilience.”

Minister Sears will meet with his staff on Friday morning and then complete his visit with a tour of capital works projects in Freeport and West Grand Bahama – viewing locations such as the Post Office, the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre, the Government Complex in Eight Mile Rock, the Junior High School and then on to West End to view the clinic.

 

By Robyn Adderley

Release: BIS

 

Photo Captions:

Header: A tour of Sweeting’s Cay was on the agenda for Minister of Public Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears when he came to Grand Bahama on Thursday. While there, he was updated on the status of the school, administrator’s office, and had the chance to stop in and view the turtle pond.

1st insert: Another stop to examine capital works projects by Public Works Minister the Hon. Alfred Sears was Water Cay.  The design for the reconstruction of the damaged dock is already underway.

2nd insert: Minister of Public Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears, accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Baccus Rolle and other staff toured the University of The Bahamas Northern Campus on Thursday. 

MCCLEAN’S TOWN CLINIC – Minister of Public Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears and Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, toured McClean’s Town Clinic on Thursday as a part of the capital works tour.

 

 

(BIS Photos/Andrew Miller)

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Bahamas gets 57,330 doses of Pfizer vaccine to boost its COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

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#TheBahamas, October 26, 2021 – The Bahamas received some 57,330 doses of Pfizer vaccine as the country continues to rollout the national vaccination pogramme against the COVID-19 virus.

The Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr Michael Darville was on hand to receive the latest tranche of vaccines, which arrived at the Lynden Pindling International Airport on Thursday, October 21, 2021.  Also present were health officials, and PAHO/WHO Country Representative Dr. Eldonna Boisson.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) assisted The Bahamas in receiving the vaccines – the fourth batch — through the COVAX facility, which is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and therapies.

Dr. Darville on behalf of the Bahamian people thanked PAHO and all others, who were instrumental in the country getting the vaccines.  “These vaccines are absolutely essential for our vaccination programme and we have people throughout our Family Islands just waiting for the doses to arrive.

“We are pleased that they are here today and you will see very soon that we will bump up the amount of vaccinations at our various centres not only in New Providence and Grand Bahama but also throughout the Family Islands,” he said.

Dr. Darville explained that the vaccination teams would move “very quickly” because there are people at the various centres waiting to be inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine.

“The programme was scaled back a little bit because we needed to have the vaccines on ground. They are here. They will be stored effectively and you will begin to see even a greater rollout because the appetite and the demand for vaccines particularly Pfizer is definitely on the rise, and that is a good sign for us and we need to be able to adequately meet the demand with the supply” he said.

According to Dr. Darville, the rollout of this tranche of vaccines is expected as early as Friday (Oct 22).  And, this will be realized throughout the Family Islands mainly those where there are high incidences of COVID-19 cases.

“Thanks to PAHO and thanks to all of the other parties involved, we are actually early and that is a good sign for us,” he said, referring to the tentative date of November 1, 2021 rollout.

Added Dr. Darville, “It’s just the small logistics of getting the vaccines to the various locations because the people are very interested throughout the country to be vaccinated because they are finally understanding that [for] the individuals who are vaccinated, the chances of hospitalization if you get COVID is very low, and the chances of death if you get COVID is very low.

These are the things that we keep pushing and the Bahamian people are responding in a very positive way to the vaccines.”

Dr. Boisson said that PAHO/WHO was happy to have been able to assist with the delivery of these much-needed doses.

“We look forward to further assisting by facilitating the provision of more vaccines in the future through the PAHO Revolving Fund, to complement other vaccine supplies and donations,” she said.

Dr. Boisson credited The Bahamas for doing an excellent job of rapidly rolling out COVID-19 vaccines as they become available.

She noted though that the main challenge to the programme has been limited access to vaccines at times, which is because global demand continues to far exceed supply.

“However, here in The Bahamas you are fortunate to have three of the six WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) approved vaccines available to you, namely Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Janssen (or Johnson and Johnson).

“All these vaccines are safe and effective. They have all gone through the same stringent regulatory process in order to be granted WHO EUL approval. They all provide significant protection against severe illness and death,” she said.

Dr. Darville and the Dr. Boisson urged the public to get vaccinated, and also to follow the health safety protocols – wearing of masks, hand sanitizing, and social distancing.

 

By Lindsay Thompson

Release: BIS

Photo Caption: The Bahamas received 57,330 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which arrived at the Lynden Pindling International Airport on Thursday, October 21, 2021. Pictured from left are National Immunization Programme Manager Nurse Ruth Bastian; Colin Higgs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness; Dr. Pearl McMillan, Chief Medical Officer; PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr. Eldonna Boisson; Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville; and Danny Davis, Co-Chair Ministry of Health and Wellness Vaccination Committee.

(BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

 

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Sia’s vegan creations win New Providence District round of 2021 Culinary Competition

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#TheBahamas, October 26, 2021 – Sia Wright’s vegan dishes earned her the top spot in this year’s recent New Providence district round of the Bahamas Young Chef Culinary Senior Competition.

Participants in the 29th annual Young Chef Competition (New Providence) District are pictured in the Hospitality and Tourism Studies Food Laboratory at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School.

The 11th grade student of Akhepran International Academy who aspires to become a marine biologist and study mammals, entered the competition to challenge her creativity in the kitchen.

“I love the culinary arts,” said Sia. “It has been a passion of mine since I was about 5-years-old. I also think it is amazing to add a plant-based spin on classic Bahamian dishes.”

“My entire immediate family are all vegans.  My siblings and I have all been raised as vegans since birth. We have chosen this lifestyle to ensure [that] we are all healthy and enjoy a high quality of life.  Cooking is something that I enjoy. I look forward to creations featuring a savory dish – ‘Coconut Infused Lentil Brown Stew’ stuffed in a savory parcel topped with pan seared mushroom and mixed salad and a sweet dish – ‘Layered Guava Pudding topped with Chocolate Mousse.’

The contest sponsored by the Ministry of Education (MOE), Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour, challenged the students to use any of the rice and flour products to prepare a dish and dessert based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots.”

The line-up of winners in the 29th annual senior high school competition were:

Sia Wright, first place; Shandon Bain, second place (Kingsway Academy); Alisah Dixon, third place (Bahamas Academy); Kennia Smith, fourth place (C.C. Sweeting); Antwoine Rolle, fifth place (Anatol Rodgers); Dalexis Huyler, sixth place (Anatol Rodgers); Darius Fernander, seventh place (Doris Johnson) and Teanno Kelly, Doris Johnson; eighth place.

Chef Celeste Smith (3rd from left) critiques Kennia Smith’s dish as other judges look on.

The budding chefs concocted their dishes in the Hospitality and Tourism Studies Food Laboratory at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School under the watchful eyes of Chief Judge Gerald Rolle, Clement Williams, Jimmy Dean, Addiemae Farrington, Michael Rolle, and Hazel Rolle, Celeste Smith (pastry chefs).

Of Sia’s rice dish Chef Adderley said, “This impressed me because the flavors I got when I ate this — from the lentils … to the rice, to the mushrooms, this was 100%.

In Atlantis this would blow people away to see that someone this young can put on a plate something like this. This is what I expect to see from someone who has been cooking for 20 years.  He said Sia’s work showed a lot of preparation. “As a chef, you impressed me. [It was] very unique; what makes food different is presentation, uniqueness, flavor and taste,” he added.

Chef Williams said, “The execution is what separates the winner from the loser. It was well executed. When you cut into it, it bursts open with flavor.

“Great job! This is a specialized area in the kitchen. We have guests in the hotels who can’t eat regular food and this is what they want.”

Chef Williams took issue with the portion size of Sia’s dessert advising that it should be smaller. He also suggested that she enhance her dish with dark, sautéed tomatoes for more flavor.

Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer, Turnquest congratulated the students for representing themselves, their families and Family and Consumer Science Education Departments.

“You are the brightest and best of what we have,” said Ms. Turnquest. “Continue with your studies. When you put in the time you will get your reward.”

Darius Fernander, of Doris Johnson Senior High School, is interviewed by judges during the competition.

She said, “The whole idea behind this competition is to have a village type of concept around the knowledge, skills and attitudes, that are young chefs need to have industry, home and school all working together to produce young chefs, young culinarians for the future of The Bahamas.

“The competition is to give the students what they need to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism studies. They may choose to be a chef or start their own business. This is something to get the students engaged and immersed in what they are studying in Family and Consumer Science Education.”

She explained that the future of the competition depends on what happens this year — whether the international sponsors would come back next year and whether the MOE, the primary sponsor, would allow the competition to proceed.

“It’s a team effort. This year competing in COVID-19 is a whole different flavor. Hats off to all of the teachers that have set aside the time to work with the students.”

Darius, the first student ever to represent his school’s Vocational Department, entered ‘Long Island Runner and Coconut Darry’ — curry chicken and white rice with a twist. He described it as a baked tartlet with white rice and the crust and cheese as the base, stuffed with minced curry chicken, vegetables and topped off with cheese. The dessert was ‘Coconut Duff with a Coconut Jimmy Sauce.’

Other dishes included:

 

Antwoine:

‘Rake n’ Scrape Rice Cake with Lemon Grass Spiced Poached Conch and Tropical Salsa’ along with ‘Baked Guava Pancakes with Pineapple and Guava Sauce/Cream Cheese’ topping.

Dalexis:

‘Surf n Turf: Steamed Dumplings with Vitamalt, Passionfruit Sauce’

 

Kennia:

‘Avocado Rice Cheesecake with Spicy Tamarind Sauce’ and ‘Bahama Roll in Sea Grape Sauce Topped with Micro Grains.’

Sia Wright, of Akhepran International Academy, explains her method to the judges during the interview session.

Alisah:

‘Coconut Tart Rice Pudding and Sour Orange Iced Flour Cake Cookies’

The top three winners will move into the national round where they will compete against their counterparts in the Family Islands.

 

By Kathryn Campbell

Release: BIS

 

Header: Sia Wright, first place finisher in the 29th annual Young Chef New Providence District Competition is shown preparing one of her dishes.

(BIS Photos/Raymond Bethel)

 

 

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