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Part I: Descriptive Section

Section 1: Introduction

At the World Conference on Education for All held in Jomtein, Thailand, in March 1990 the meeting commended to all member states the pursuit of the following educational goals during the decade of the nineties:

In 1991, The Ministry of Education the body charged with articulating policies to guide the delivery of education in The Bahamas, undertook the compilation of a five year development plan. This document which was completed in 1992, outlined in broad terms the major thrusts that would direct the work of the organisation during the period 1992 -1997 and ultimately influence the efficiency and effectiveness of the education product in respect of delivery and outcome.

In 1992, as a part of its election campaign, the Free National Movement published its platform called Manifesto ’92. A major section of the document articulated the party’s agenda on education and committed the party to the pursuit of goals, which coincided with those expressed by the World Conference on Education. Following the party’s success at the polls, these goals were embedded in the policies of the Ministry of Education.

In 1993, concerned about the extent and the quality of the returns resulting from the considerable investment being made in education, the Government of The Bahamas commissioned a Task Force to undertake a review of the educational system in all its aspects at the primary and secondary levels and to make recommendations to bring about improved efficiency and effectiveness in the education product. In particular the Task Force was urged to:

  1. Review the philosophy, mission, goals and objectives of the education system and, where necessary, following appropriate consultation, recommend adjustments to these in light of current social and economic realities and national needs;
  2. Review the existing structure of the Ministry of Education and the Public School system and to make recommendations for the decentralisation of the system with a view to increasing the responsibilities of principals/school administrators, and to widening participation of parents and the community in the operating of schools;
  3. Review the existing staffing, functions, resources, policies and procedures of the various departments of the Ministry of Education and Culture to determine the adequacy and appropriateness of these to facilitate support and enhance the effective functioning of the national education goals, and where deemed necessary to recommend relevant changes;
  4. Review the work of the schools to determine their ability to effectively discharge their responsibility to meet the educational needs of their students and contribute to the achievement of national development goals. This review will include an examination of:
  1. Study the existing level of funding available for the support of the educational process, and to make recommendations concerning a) the strengthening of these, if necessary, and b) the roles which parents and the community at large ought to play in this regard;
  2. Review in depth and make recommendations on the issues related to the demand and supply of teachers and school administrators with particular reference to recruitment, training and deployment;
  3. Prepare specifications of human, physical and financial resources required to implement any changes proposed.

The recommendations resulting from the investigations embraced the goals of Education for All as well as those expressed in Manifesto ‘92 and suggested strategies for their achievement in the context of an archipelagic country. Accepting the findings and recommendations of the review, the Government of The Bahamas directed the Ministry of Education, to set about establishing and implementing policies, structures and processes that would enable the improved efficiency and effectiveness in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force, the goals of Education For All and Manifesto ‘92. Simultaneously, a committee whose remit required it to devise an implementation plan for the achievement of the tasks was struck. This committee’s report submitted in 1994, mapped out in greater detail the strategies to be employed and path to be followed in giving full effect to the recommendations of the Task Force.

The Government’s commitment to the pursuit of these goals is reiterated and reinforced annually in the budget communication, periodically in speeches from the throne each time a new session of Parliament is convened and regularly in addresses delivered by the Minister of Education and statements issued by the Ministry and Department of Education.

Between 1990 and the present time, therefore, significant movement has taken place in each of the six areas articulated by the World Conference of 1990 namely, Early Childhood Development Programmes, Primary Education, Learning Achievement, Adult Literacy, Basic Education and Training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, Acquisition by Individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living, made available through all education channels.

This report outlines the progress made in addressing the espoused goals, where necessary it provides an explanation for the status of the goal and indicates the plans in place to effect their continued and further progress.

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