Quality education is necessary to develop a more informed public who are able to access good jobs with livable wage employment and contribute to the country’s economy. The Bahamas’ undereducated populace is wreaking havoc on the country’s socioeconomic development, Gross Domestic Product and citizenry. It’s time to address this core issue head on as successive governments have failed to improve education for the last 35 years.
Consider this snapshot of student achievement from 2012:
[BGCSE Statistics in 2012 | Number of persons tested: 7,117]
Combine the 56% with the number of students who either dropped out or didn't take the BGSCE, and the statistic becomes even more staggering, with 70 percent of young people are undereducated and therefore unable to pursue employment or a college education.
We need your help to effect change. Your children’s future depends on it.
The Campaign for the Bahamas believes the Government should be vigorously pursuing a number of educational plans that provide the following:
Tax discounts to businesses that provide their employees with education! Significant tax and work permit fee discounts to employers who provide industry-recognized certification programs and applicable higher learning opportunities to their Bahamian staff.
Partnerships with businesses to offer apprenticeships that lead to long term employment! Apprenticeship programs instituted into the high school curriculum for grades 10 through 12. This program must be a public-private partnership (PPP) that is industry driven to assure the greatest success.
Supporting teachers who do a good job and getting rid of bad ones! Accountability at every level of the educational system. The MOE, principals and faculty must be accountable to deliver better results. Teacher testing and evaluations are critical with mandatory training for those teachers that do not meet a passing grade. Merit-based pay for teachers and principals.
Prepare our children to meet the challenges of the future! Implement mandatory “Character and Virtue Development” programs in all grade levels. Essential character and virtue life skills are not being taught to children due to the breakdown in parenting and the family structure.
Remove work permit fees for all teachers or certified instructors who are hired by schools, colleges, associations or businesses to teach students or train staff.
The Risk of Doing Nothing - Lack of Education Equals:
Lack of safety - National security is at risk as there is a direct correlation between a failing educational system and increases in criminal activity and violent crimes. If the educational system is not fixed, increases in crime and unemployment will continue, and the Bahamas will be hard pressed to maintain stability and security.
Lack of financial security- When consideration is given to the lack of basic educational and cognitive skills being attained by the majority, then it can be viewed that poor work ethics and practices evolve. This leads to lower productivity, competiveness and GDP growth.
Jobs and opportunity going elsewhere -The Bahamas is surrounded by a number of countries that may not have the same proximity to the USA but they do have raw materials for manufacturing, good soil and water for farming, a cheaper labor force, a more educated labor force, and they are focused on improving their economies. Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Dominica and Trinidad are examples of governments seeking change. If citizens are not education, the Bahamas will become a less competitive and less desirable a country with which to do business
Government corruption and cronyism - As the populous becomes less educated and cognoscente, so then does the level of candidate available for election within government. This leads to a significant risk of persons seeking nomination and election to government as a means of employ instead of serving one's country.
ORG Position Paper on Education Reform
A strong economy means jobs and opportunity for all!
In order to bring about great economic change, residents of the Bahamas must understand the country’s current economic conditions and indicators. The three largest business sectors in the country include tourism, financial (offshore banking) and agriculture.
You need to know how the system works!
The status quo in Bahamian governance over the last forty years has not yielded long-term positive results and opportunity for all citizens of the Bahamas. While the country has remained relatively stable over this period, that too has now changed and the effects of long-term socioeconomic neglect have now become abundantly evident.
The Campaign for the Bahamas suggests the following solutions to help spark the failing economy.
We need the government to work for the people! The government must stimulate economic growth by acting. This will require significant courage by the government of the day, as change will require a paradigm shift in the way the Bahamas is governed and managed.
Freedom of Information Act – that includes a whistle blowers act and an ombudsman’s
Fiscal Responsibility Act – that imposes public spending limits, GAAT accounting practices, size of government limits and holds leaders and public managers accountable to performance
Civil Society Act – that ensures that civil society is intricately involved in government planning, decision making, and policy.
Policy changes that increase the ease of doing business in the Bahamas.
Identify emerging markets and new investment opportunities.
Foster local and foreign investment.
Support local commerce and industry.
Improvements must also be made to:
- Immigration policies;
- Monetary policies;
- Trade agreements;
- Energy costs;
- Taxes, duties & tariffs
- Duties; tariffs;
- Political party constitution;
- The Bahamas Constitution and many other factors.
ORG Economic Development Position Paper