Former Premier and new Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith. *File photo
Former Premier and new Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith. *File photo
Dame Jennifer Smith says she does not want to close any schools as she takes over the Ministry of Education.

The former Premier told the Sun that she knew she would have to cut costs in her new role.

But she strongly believes there is a place for small schools in Bermuda.

Her comments came after her predecessor, Elvin James, revealed at the beginning of this year that Government was looking at the possibility of closing schools in a bid to cut costs.

On Monday Dame Jennifer was cheered and given a standing ovation as it was announced she would take over as Minister of Education.

After the swearing in ceremony at Government House said she was keen to get on with the challenges that faced the Ministry.

She added: “I know I have to cut costs in the Ministry.

“But I wish to do that without closing schools.

“I have always believed in small schools and the opportunities they provide for children.

“We need to use the resources that we have — in terms of personnel — better to improve the service that is offered.”

Dame Jennifer also revealed to the Sun how she wrestled with whether or not to accept the Cabinet role in the weeks leading up to Premier Paula Cox’s election into office.

She said: “I think I was wrestling with the idea of taking on the Ministry of Education for a long time.

“I was the one convincing myself – and felt that I should do it.

“But at the same time I was very comfortable where I was before.

“The Premier said she wanted me for the job because I had credibility.

“I am not a teacher but I have a record of working for the people of Bermuda.”

Dame Jennifer added: “I feel re-energized because of this Premier and this group of people.

“I only made my final decision to say yes to the post on the night before the swearing in ceremony – but I knew it was the right decision.

“Having been Premier I don’t underestimate the role. We don’t want people saying that we are going to take the easy option.”