Ministry may consolidate schools on some islands

The Ministry of Education is looking to consolidate schools on some Family Islands to make better use of resources, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday.

Lloyd said the ministry is eyeing Andros, Eleuthera and Long Island for the consolidation efforts. He said he met with the residents of Long Island last week to discuss the consolidation of the two primary schools in the north of the island and the two in the south, and the suggestions were well received by those in the community.

“There are some islands we are looking at and school districts, and where appropriate, where the benefit of our limited resources could be maximized, we are looking with the consultation and the collaboration of the community to see how best we can serve that community and our children, and if that means consolidating our efforts and our resources, then we shall so do with the community’s concurrence and participation,” he said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

He added, “We have to be sensible about the proficient and effective use of our resources.

“The reality simply is this — we have, in a number of islands, a declining population. And, as you also know, we also have on an annual basis a perennial shortage of teachers, especially those in what I consider the critical areas, math, science, social studies and so on.

“We feel it is unfair, especially when we have committed ourselves in the sustainable development goals to ensuring equitable access for all of our children to a quality education. It is unfair for us not to look at the facts, look at the data and make decisions which would assist those students in realizing an opportunity for a quality education. We have found in some instances on some islands that the consolidation will enable that to be the case. And I can say, gratefully, that there are a number of parents and community leaders who are inviting us to give this consideration on their respective islands.”

Lloyd said consolidation efforts are nothing new for the ministry, noting they happened under former Education Director Iris Pinder.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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