Sands: 65 % of 160-plus teachers headed to the Family Islands
Ninety percent of the 160-odd new teachers entering the government system for the 2012-2013 school year are Bahamian and 65 percent are headed to the Family Islands.
That statistic, Director of Education Lionel Sands told The Freeport News yesterday, is good news for principals and, especially schools in the Family Islands.
In fact, Sands explained, government has been forced for a number of years to hire more foreign teachers than Bahamian because of the low numbers.
Even then, there were teacher shortages in specific areas.
"In the past, the numbers were not sufficient in various schools simply because we couldn't find the teachers and, now that we've found more teachers this year, we're able to supply more principals with the teachers they need to help carry out the process of education of the family islands," Sands said.
Newly appointed Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald maintains that one of the government's goals is to ensure that there is a sufficient number of trained teachers to place in the schools to advance the course of education and combat the challenges of literacy and numeracy.
Sands pointed out that the placing of the new teachers is a step in the right direction to making that a reality.
"I think this is the first step in achieving the objective of that particular plight where they determined that they would hire as many teachers as possible that we could find to ensure that the process of education is uninterrupted and we are the beneficiaries of it," he said.
"With almost 200 new teachers going into our schools and, the fact that 95 percent are Bahamians, that is really good because you know in the past we've been engaging quite a number of foreign teachers because we didn't have sufficient of our own people trained sufficiently enough to meet the needs."
This year, he said, the ministry was fortunate to not only inherit teachers from the College of The Bahamas, but Bahamian teachers who crossed over from the private school system and others who are returning from abroad.
"That is, for us, an accomplishment. That helps to meet that particular objective of the government and, indeed the ministry," Sands added.
As for the repair work being carried out at a number of schools throughout the country, the director said the projects are on schedule.
"We're quite pleased with the works that are going on at the various schools where we're doing summer repairs," he said.
"For the most part, most of them are complete, simply because they are not very large works but they were works that we required nonetheless to ensure the smooth opening of schools."
Sands expressed the ministry's satisfaction in that the contractors have done what they were required to do at a high level.
The largest amount of work necessary for the new school year is being carried out in Grand Bahama at the relocated Lewis Yard Primary School in Hunters where government and private partners spent close to $500,000.
"All of the other works throughout The Bahamas that were necessary were not works that would not keep us out of school on Monday," Sands said.
Nonetheless, he noted that he expected that come September 3, all schools will open without a hitch.
© 2012 The Freeport News