TUESDAY, NOV. 9: Minister of Education Jennifer Smith today announced plans for Government to partner with the private sector to improve the public school system.

Speaking at the annual Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) conference, Ms Smith said the island’s education system is at a “critical juncture” and said all is “not well”.

“The challenges we face in public education will be solved when we support public education.  In the 400 years of our existence, I know of no entity that has ever come by sea or by air to solve our problems. 

“Our problems are ours to solve.  And I know that – collectively - we can find the solutions.

“Bermuda, please understand that the majority of our students get up and go to school and do their best. They are talented, marvelous young people and we must herald their accomplishments and support them.”

The Minister said dialogue was key to finding a solution for the many problems in the system.

“As you have already heard through the media, I will be calling on the community as a whole to give public education the support it needs.

“There are a few projects that will be announced over the coming weeks that will demonstrate the public/private partnerships that I am looking for.”

She continued: “Although the school day coincides with the work day, I am sure that together we can come up with a workable solution that will see parents being allowed to play an even more active and meaningful role in their children’s education day.”

Ms Smith said statistic show that when adults are more involved in children’s education, they have higher grades, higher test scores, high graduation rates and more.

She added the Ministry had a lot to do.

“I can assure you, there will be no surprises. I intend to communicate and to listen but I also intend to make decisions and when I do, I will set out clearly the rationale for those decisions. 

“I believe that we are united in our desire to give our students the best opportunity for success. And I am committed to regular meetings with your union so that we have a regular forum in which to discuss issues.”