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National School Attendance Hotline launched 

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training has launched a Hotline to support its efforts to boost school attendance.

Minister – Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin

The National School Attendance Hotline -– 422-2253 or 42-CHILD – toll free was introduced during a briefing at the Ivy Dumont Building, Friday, January 12, 2024.

The Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training said the approach to get students back into the classroom is “focused and strategic.”  She said the hotline will allow the Ministry of Education to go into the community and seek out children [who have been absent from school].

“We are focused on getting the children in the classroom. We can help mold, shape, support, guide a young person as they go forward with their lives,” she said.

“There is an historic issue with attendance; the pandemic exacerbated it and now we are trying to recover. We’ve made almost a miraculous recovery in two years when we got children back face-to-face; the hotline is yet another strategy. We need the community to assist us because it is your business,” she said.

Acting Education Director Dominique McCartney encouraged the public to support the initiative. She outlined strategies that the Ministry has implemented to assist with increasing school attendance – among them Find Every Child task force initiative (survey), walkabouts, and the introduction of attendance officers.

“Today, we are adding another strategy to improve attendance because 90 percent will not do. We are striving for 100%, said Mrs. Russell.

“We are excited to note that to date attendance figures have levelled out to 90 percent.  We are not satisfied with 90 percent.  Every child in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas of school age must attend school.

“Chronic absenteeism is the primary cause of poor academic attainment. It is a proven early warning sign of academic risks and school dropout. Therefore, 100 percent of our children must attend school.

“We have increased the personnel, we have engaged monitors in New Providence and Grand Bahama and they assist our attendance officers to find every child.

“We have strengthened our partnerships with Social Services, Urban Renewal, churches, civic organizations and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to mitigate the barriers to education attainment,” she said.

Other strategies include more experiential learning, additional bus routes, the re-established parent unit, expanded mental health initiative to support the healthy socialization of students, strengthening partnerships with corporate and community stakeholders, and the introduction of a breakfast programme in key schools.

Other speakers included Dr. Chaswell Hanna, Assistant Commissioner of Police, and Sharmaine Sinclair, Deputy Director, Department of Education, (Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit).

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS

PARTNERS – Pictured from left:

1:  Rev. Daniel Small, Attendance Officer
2:  Mr. Anzlo Strachan, Chief Attendance Officer, Special Services Section
3:  Ms. Sharon Clarke, Assistant Director of Education Special Services Section
4:  Mrs. Dominique Russell, Director – Department of Education
5:  Mrs. Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary, MOETVT
6:  Minister – Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin
7:  Ms. Terrice L. Carey-Curry, Acting Deputy Director Curriculum and Instruction
8:  Ms. Sharmaine Sinclair, Deputy Director – Research & Planning
9:  Mr. Coleman Andrews, Consultant – MOETVT
10: Dr. Chaswell Hanna, Assistant Commissioner – RBPF

MINISTER HANNA-MARTIN AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE OFFICER

School Attendance Officers – Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

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Bahamas News

Bahamas as Caribbean top 2024 Spring Destination

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 23rd, 2024 – The Bahamas has been categorized as the most popular Caribbean destination for travel in the upcoming spring season by travel insurance company Squaremouth, in a new report. It was the only Caribbean nation to make the list for the top 10 destinations. The report is derived from travel insurance purchases made through Squaremouth.

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Bahamas News

Regional Soldiers head to Jamaica to train for pending Haiti mission

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Rashaed Esson

Staff  Writer

 

#Haiti#KenyaMultinationalForce#CARICOM, February 22nd, 2024 – About 150 Bahamian soldiers are heading to Jamaica within the next one or two weeks for a joint training with Jamaican soldiers, in preparation for the pending Kenya led multinational force mission to Haiti according to Bahamian Defense Chief Commodore, Raymond King, in reports. Soldiers and security forces from Chile and Argentina will also travel to Jamaica for the training.

King informs that Kenya and Haiti are in the process of signing off on an agreement to allow Kenya to lead the force into Haiti, following advice from Kenya’s High Court which recently deemed Kenya’s decision to deploy police officers to the gang run nation as unconstitutional. This agreement includes a formal request for assistance from Haiti, allowing Kenya to legally intervene on the ground.

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Bahamas News

Major plans for The Bahamas announced Davis

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Development,February 22nd, 2024 – “Things are changing in The Bahamas,” were the words of Prime Minister Philip Davis as he outlined some of the Government’s plans to improve the nation through a decrease in the cost of living, enhanced security for Bahamians and the expansion of access to opportunities. Davis, who was presenting on February 21st, the Bahamas Mid-Year Review of the fiscal performance for the fiscal year 2023/2024, highlighted a long list of plans for the archipelago.

Here’s the full list stated in Davis’ address :

  • A new energy policy and an expansion of renewable energy, including microgrids, and an emphasis on engaging local Bahamian firms and building local professional capacity; 
  • An expansion of Bahamian ownership in our economy, including support for entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, and an expansion of affordable housing –with hundreds of families moving into new homes by this summer; 
  • A modern and award-winning specialized tourism product, with new investments across our archipelago, and major visibility and branding campaigns in New York, Florida, and the UK;
  • Progress on redeveloping downtown Nassau, long overdue;
  • New commitments to education, including a Parental Engagement Unit; more teacher training, modernizing the curriculum, classroom enhancements, improving school attendance, and using the Renaissance testing results to design individualized support for students; 
  • An expansion of technical and vocational training, including certification at the high school level;
  • An Empower Grand Bahama micro-grant programme for entrepreneurs; $1.5 billion in investments for Grand Bahama in the pipeline; the Beautiful Grand Bahama programme, in which collaboration has led to safer communities; and Collab Grand Bahama, which fosters partnerships between the government and the private sector to bring change and progress to Grand Bahama;
  • Major upgrades to our health infrastructure;
  • More support for our athletes and sports programmes;
  • We’re on track to pave 65 miles of road in New Providence alone this year;
  • Investments in NIB to improve fairness and efficiency;
  • A National School Breakfast pilot programme, which is already giving thousands of our children breakfast in their primary schools, and is ready to expand;
  • New classes, camps, lessons, and programmes at our Urban Renewal Centres;
  • A Youth Guard to strengthen our capacity during national emergencies, and give more young Bahamians a path forward;
  • A Task Force addressing unregulated shantytowns in New Providence and Abaco, with other islands to follow;
  • The selection and training of new immigration officers;
  • Saturation patrols and new investments and collaboration in crime prevention; 
  • A juvenile detention facility;
  • A cadre of officers trained to recognize and manage psychiatric issues;
  • Stronger partnerships and new patrol vessels to secure our nation’s borders; 
  • Major new investments across our Family Islands, including new airports, and road paving in Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Abaco, Long Island; Great Harbour Cay, and Crooked Island;
  • The development of our nation’s blue carbon credits strategy; and
  • A major investment in agriculture and national food security.

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