Although The Bahamas has high levels of educational attainment, greater emphasis is needed on the quality of education in the country, according to a recent Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) publication called “Nurturing Institutions for a Resilient Caribbean”.
The report, which examined the quality of institutions in the Caribbean, studied six countries in depth: The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Bahamas had the second highest percentage of people between 25 and 65 with a tertiary education, with Barbados ranking the highest.
“The average years of acquired formal education among working-age adults (25 – 65 years old) is relatively high for Barbados (12.36 years) and The Bahamas (11.96 years). These countries perform better than the OECD average (10.9 years),” the report said.
However, the report noted that the quality of public education in The Bahamas could be improved.
“The system is concentrated on the primary and secondary levels, whereby pre-primary education provision remains low and is dominated by the private sector,” it said.
“In general, around 36 percent of students below the tertiary level rely on the private system.”
The report found that the most important components in improving education quality are the monitoring of the efforts and quality of teachers, as well as “performance-based hiring and retention decisions”.
The report noted that The Bahamas should improve these measures in order to increase its education quality.
“Performance-based hiring decisions and economic incentives are institutional arrangements not currently in place within the public education and health systems,” it said.
“Therefore, such institutions could be considered toward achieving greater meritocracy and efficiency in the public service.”
The report acknowledged that while there is a system in place to evaluate teachers, “the methodology used is to some extent connected to the old evaluation system, where feedback is not always focused on the development of system-wide effectiveness”.
The report suggested, “The methodology for teacher evaluation would benefit by considering the calculation of individual teacher value-added measures based on objective academic performance of students.”
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