Friday, May 29, 2009

The state of our education.

The Cambridge International Curriculum.  In a positive move, our Government has decided that this will be the future of our education system. Ten years into their reign the PLP government are finally doing away with the badly broken and archaic system implemented by the UBP some fifteen years or more before they took power. It wasn't going to be easy. Let's be thankful that education is finally on the front burner.

Truth be told, the "middle school" idea for Bermuda was a broken system from day one. Speaking with a "consultant" on board an Air Canada flight from Toronto who was being brought in to help develop the idea, he told me that Canada was moving away from the idea. That was 25 years ago... at least.  While there are still calls for  "Junior High Schools" "Intermediate Schools" or "Middle Schools", and many countries around the world still use these systems, the idea works best in places of higher populations.  It is unrealistic to have an overly complex system in an area where it is not needed. Our legacy of the "Middle School" "Super High School" is a failed one. It has not provided the structure or support needed for our youth and is currently producing people that are not prepared for further education. So many of our kids are fighting to get out of school at 16, simply because they are not getting the education they need. Too many kids are being pushed through the "meat grinder".

As I stated. It's not an easy thing. The struggle to increase graduation rates, attendance rates and reduce issues of illiteracy will be the primary battles to be won. I am heartened by the idea that the Bermuda College is now offering free courses, and the discussions as to their mission (a 2 year school or a 4 year institution) should continue to be explored. I only hope that once all the puzzle pieces come together, Primary, Secondary and College levels of education are productive. 

When I defend the need for my children to attend private schools, my greatest argument is that they can be held accountable for the sale of their product. The Government's system offers no such accountability. If my child struggles and fails in a Private School, as a paying customer, it is my right to demand satisfaction. In the current public system, there is no such accountability. Kids can come and go as they please, and teachers aren't given any incentive to produce a quality education. Let's hope with the move to the new system that it not only inspires the government, but the kids as well. 

Education first... our future depends on it.


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