Education is a serious thing and Education Minister Jeff Lloyd demonstrated that he cannot be serious. Pandemic or no pandemic, our education system has been failing for a long time. The system is terminally fractured.
The entire Ministry of Education needs reengineering — the administration, the physical infrastructure, the teaching qualifications, teacher’s pay, vision for education and mission for education. We need to clarify our expectations and define our needs.
Everyone is not destined for university. AND universities are producing graduates capable of nothing, too. This does not apply to all graduates.
Whatever you focus on, grows. We need society to focus on practical education. This will require a lot of marketing.
We need to teach everyone two things — how to think and how to learn. After they master these two skills, they can achieve anything else.
For any process, we need standards. That is what tests are for — to determine who can operate at sufficient standards at that time. What we need to teach is mastery. We need people to learn processes to such a level that they get it right every time. When you are good at one thing, it provides the basis to become good at many things.
Practice, practice, practice is the key to learning and mastering most things.
Here are a few things we can do to improve student performance:
- Ensure everyone has a nutritious breakfast. I recommend a vegetable smoothie fortified with B vitamins. Without proper nutrition, it is impossible to learn or think.
- Air condition all classrooms. Make sure ventilation is good.
- Extend school hours and eliminate homework. All “homework” should be done in school.
- Shorten all these breaks. Students can get more breaks but shorter breaks.
- Eliminate the grade system and use “Unit Concept Mastery” instead. When a student masters the essential concepts, they can be released into society.
Right now, the education system in The Bahamas produces reliably poor results. We lack good leadership. The buck stops with the prime minister. We need a new leader in education.