#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
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)
Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.
“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.
Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.
And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”
Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.
“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”
Statement to Update on the Sale of the Grand Lucayan
“Deal progressing toward closure”
#GrandBahama, The Bahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL) advises that negotiations toward a successful deal on the Grand Lucayan Resort continue to progress satisfactorily. It was announced in the first week of August in a joint statement with Electra America Hospitality Group that the due diligence period was extended by 45 days to September 15.
By virtue of this, the final closing date was also extended to November 15, 2022. We note that the recent seven-day extension did not impact the agreed November closing date. We anticipate that the sales process will be completed consistent with our revised timelines. The Board of LRHL remains committed to ensuring that a credible plan and shared vision for the resort is realized – a plan that will provide jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities and strengthen Grand Bahama’s economy.
We remain on track for a successful purchase and signing of a Heads of Agreement, in the best interest of the people of Grand Bahama.
There are matters connected to the transaction that are still being negotiated; we look forward to briefing the public as soon as negotiations are concluded.
MASK AND COVID TESTING MANDATES END FOR THE BAHAMAS
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Bahamas is looking ahead to another roll back on restrictions as the precautions set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic fade away. October 1 ends the mandate for face masks in The Bahamas; it’s another policy being recalled as the world embraces a new normal, where face coverings are optional.
In a snap measure, the minister of health for the Bahamas, Michael Darville also this month ended the COVID 19 testing entry requirement for the unvaccinated. It makes The Bahamas, as a leading tourism destination, more affordable and more accessible as evidence supports that it does not also mean a spike in Covid cases.
Prime Minister Phillip Davis announced that the mask mandate change from New York, following his appearance at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and while attending the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. However, it is not masks off for everyone: medical facilities, aged care centers and schools will keep the rule.
The decision was met with applause by President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Darrin Woods who said this move will undoubtedly improve tourism numbers and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery.
Additionally, President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Robert Sands, said the time for mask mandate and Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated travellers had long passed. He believes that removing this protocol will level the playing field since other rivals in the tourism industry have already done so.
Already, long stay guests to The Bahamas were exempt from mask wearing on hotel properties.
At this point, some 173,000 Bahamas residents have been fully vaccinated and in the September 26 health report; three patients were in intensive care from the virus of the 132 active and only one new case had been recorded in Nassau.
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