Minnis told Parliament 100 students not placed due to failed NIB requirement
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd yesterday said displaced students “have to be in school” in accordance with The Bahamas’ international obligations.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told Parliament on Wednesday 100 students had not been placed in schools because they were unable to obtain a National Insurance Board (NIB) number.
“Even though they may not have an NIB number, they still have to be in school,” Lloyd told Eyewitness News Onlinewhen contacted for comment.
“First of all they have to prove some attachment; when I say that I mean, you know, show something that you live or have lived here or something — that you did not just walk off the boat. You see.”
More than 1,400 students were processed at the stadium in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
Lloyd said while many displaced students from Abaco came to register, “quite a number” of them were from New Providence who were not properly registered and had not been attending school.
He said part of the reason for not registering, similar to students with undocumented parents is that “if they do show up and register, or attempt to get into school that their parents are going to possibly be deported”.
He pointed out that schools have no jurisdiction to go and seek to deport parents.
On Wednesday, Minnis said: “Approximately 100 students presented for registration at the stadium, who did not have National Insurance numbers as required, who have not been able to obtain an NI number, and who have not yet been placed in a New Providence school, due to their failure to meet this requirement.”
“The Ministry of Education (MOE) is clear that there must be a process in place for each student enrolled in a government-operated school to substantiate that student’s identity,” the prime minister continued.
“This is the only registration requirement insisted upon by the MOE for all students entering government schools, whether they be Bahamian or non-Bahamian.
“The NIB number is used to track each student throughout their years in the government school sector,” Minnis added.
When Eyewitness News Online referred to Minnis’ statement, Lloyd said: “You have to talk to the prime minister. I am telling you what the policy is. If you want to have an understanding of what the prime minister meant, you have to speak to him. I am telling you what the policy is.
“The policy of the Ministry of Education is that you present yourself for school enrollment; you can verify you are a resident of this country or born in this country, you are enrolled in school. You have to be.”
Asked what will become of the 100 students, Lloyd said: “They have not been registered with NIB and NIB is going to register them as long as you can prove that you were born in The Bahamas, and even if you were not born in The Bahamas, that you are in The Bahamas and present yourself as a resident of this country. That is our international obligation. If you are in this country you have to be in school.”
The government began the national registration process on September 9.
In a statement Thursday, the Ministry of Education announced that Friday is the final day for processing at its headquarters on University Drive.
It stated letters for students who have completed the registration process were ready for collection.
The ministry added that health screenings for new registrants must be completed at a local clinic in New Providence prior to letters for school admission being granted.