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Education Ministry Undertaking a Learning Loss Assessment to Review the Impact of COVID-19 on Education

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#NASSAU, Bahamas, January 18, 2023 – Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin said the recent lockdowns and shutdowns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic have had multiple negative effects on education.

“Indeed, it has been noted that no sector has been more severely affected than the education sector,” the Minister said at a press conference on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 announcing that the Ministry will be undertaking assessments on children at public schools throughout the country to evaluate the extent of the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A tremendous body of research has been conducted globally and regionally and there is unanimity in the findings that millions of children worldwide are suffering from learning loss.

Minister Hanna-Martin explained that learning loss according to the World Bank refers to any specific or general loss of knowledge and skills or to reversals in academic progress, most commonly due to extended gaps”.

She also noted that a World Bank report published in June 2022 shows that “prolonged school closures, poor mitigation effectiveness, and household-income shocks had the biggest impact on learning poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), with a predicted 80 per cent of children at the end-of-primary-school-age now unable to understand a simple written text, up from around 50 per cent pre-pandemic”.

The Minister said, “It is incumbent upon us in The Bahamas to measure the impact of COVID-19 which will give us real data as to the extent of learning loss so as to allow us to craft interventions to help our children catch up. The report shows that even before COVID-19 there was a learning crisis; COVID-19 exacerbated this crisis to huge proportions.”

She said the World Bank reported to avoid a permanent impact on the human capital accumulation of this generation, countries need to focus on reversing those losses and accelerating learning.

Minister Hanna-Martin said as a demonstration of data driven research, the Ministry commissioned a survey with the Department of Statistics to ascertain the reasons why thousands of children did not sign on to virtual learning and this data has given much insight into an array of issues.
She said another exercise that was undertaken nationwide involved public and private teams dispatched into communities to compile first-hand data on children not attending school.

“The deployment of attendance officers followed this initiative, to procure the attendances of students. Due to these combined efforts, we have been able to achieve an unprecedented school attendance rate of 94 per cent.

“Further, we commissioned a research project with the University of The Bahamas to identify factors which influence learning outcomes to our school population. This research will assist the Ministry in shaping policy and creating targeted interventions.”

Dominique McCartney-Russell, Acting Director said the Ministry has hired a consultant firm to undertake a diagnostic assessment of the learning loss that has occurred in the country and to provide recommendations for accelerating learning recovery.

After a bidding process, Renaissance Learning Inc. was the winning firm based on several criteria. These include:

  • The company should have had at least a minimum of three years of successful consultancy in the education sector with the expertise required to satisfactorily complete the assignment.
  • They should have successful experience in at least three assignments of similar value and complexity in diagnostic assessment, remediation and acceleration in a school system.
  • They should also have experience in providing services to school systems with a student population of more than 35,000 children from grades K to 12.
    The Acting Director said, “We looked at qualifications experience, methodologies, work plans, organization and staffing, subject matter expertise and overall competence for this assignment.”

She added, “The mandate of this consultancy includes diagnostic assessment, the remediation and the salvation of learning recovery for students in K to 12 in the public school sector.”

Renaissance Learning Inc. has worldwide impact and operations in countries including the United States, Canada, China, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

According to Renaissance Learning Inc. website, since 1986, its mission has been to accelerate learning for all children and adults of all ability levels and ethnic and social backgrounds, worldwide.  Today, more than 40 per cent of US schools rely on Renaissance solutions for data and insights to equitably move learning forward.

 

Release: BIS

PHOTO CAPTION: Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin announced that the Ministry will be undertaking assessments on children at public schools throughout the country to evaluate the extent of the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at the Ministry.  Also bringing remarks was Dominique McCartney-Russell, Acting Director.

 

(BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)

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Scores of residents attend GB Entrepreneurial Expo 2024 

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By LEDEDRA MARCHE
Bahamas Information Services
GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas – The Ministry for Grand Bahama hosted its second entrepreneurial Expo 2024 this month, this time at the Foster B. Pestaina Hall, Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King on February 21, 2024 where scores of budding entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses in Freeport gained valuable insight for their ventures from representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Development Corporation of The Bahamas, Bahamas Development Bank, Access Accelerator, Inland Revenue, Small Businesses Development Centre, Bank of The Bahamas, Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, and UB Ignite.
Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper and Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey encouraged attendees to take full advantage of the wealth of resources being made available at the Expo to empower them along their business journey.
Also in attendance were Parliamentary Secretary Kingsley Smith; Senators James Turner, Kirk Russell and Randy Rolle and Permanent Secretary Joel Lewis.
The West Grand Bahama Entrepreneurial Expo, the first for the year, was held on February 1 at St. Mary Magdalene Parish Hall in West Grand Bahama.
(BIS Photos/Lisa Davis)

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Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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Storm Chasers Gear Up !

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – In the unfortunate event of a hurricane when most people are huddled in bed there’s a group of around 287 people across The Bahamas and soon to come, the Turks and Caicos islands who are in the storm working keenly to provide invaluable insight to meteorologists about the real life impact and intensity of weather events.  This is already benefiting The Bahamas department of meteorology, and very soon the Turks and Caicos Islands will also stand to gain.  The origin group is Stormwatch Bahamas, which is moving assertively now to hatching Stormwatch Turks and Caicos. We spoke to Craig Lowe, Founder and Storm Rescue Unit Captain for The Bahamas.

 

“It’s all about growing the weather community and protecting the public.” he explained.

 

That depends on much needed partnerships with locally emergency agencies. This weekend for the first time a Skywarn Instructor from the National Weather Service will be training both teams to take on the huge task of becoming a Storm Chaser. TCI is already equipped with the president and several volunteers but Lowe says they are always accepting more.

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