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TABLE 3-C

POPULATION OF 5 YEAR OLD

1990 – 1997 SUMMARY

YEAR

THE WHOLE BAHAMAS

NEW PROVIDENCE

REST OF THE BAHAMAS

 

  MALE FEMALE TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL

1990

2656

2569

5225

1766

1696

3462

890

872

1763

1991

2766

2673

5439

1827

1770

3597

939

903

1842

1992

2778

2881

5659

1871

1834

3705

907

1047

1954

1993

2739

2682

5421

1825

1802

3627

914

880

1794

1994

2791

2730

5521

1851

1821

3672

940

909

1849

1995

2854

2874

5728

1896

1966

3862

958

908

1866

1996

2792

2792

5584

3023

2220

5243

231

572

803

1997

2867

2798

5665

1898

1881

3779

969

917

1886

Source: Department of Statistics

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER)

(Total enrolment in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official primary school-age population in a given year)

The total enrolment in primary education, regardless of age is reflected in Table 4a. The eligible official primary school age population for the years 1990 – 1997 is shown in Table 3b. The Gross Enrolment ratio for the years 1990 – 1997 were derived from these data which are summarised in Tables 4.

The GER yielded by these data range from 97.4% in 1990 to 99.2 in 1997 indicating that the country is able to accommodate all of its primary school age population.

These high GERs also imply a high degree of participation in primary education and are consistent with the demand made by parents for education at both the secondary and primary levels.

Net Enrolment Ratio (NER)

(Enrolment in primary education of the official primary school age group expressed as a percentage of the primary school population)

The NER attempts to determine the extent to which the official school age population are enrolled in primary school. It is a measure of the degree of participation in primary education of the official primary school age group.

Table 4c shows the number of pupils enrolled in primary education who are of the official primary school age group. The population of the eligible official primary school age population for the years 1990 – 1999 is shown in Table 4b. These data are used to derive the NER for the years 1990 – 1999. When the number of pupils enrolled in primary education who are of the official primary school age-group are divided by the population for the same age group we find that a high NER which ranges from 96.7% in 1990 to 99.2 in 1997 results. These rates are indicative of high degree of participation in primary education. Given their (NER) sizes it can be concluded that in The Bahamas participation in education is taken very seriously.

These findings (AIR, NIR, GER, NER) which demonstrate:

are to be expected in a country where the tradition of providing primary

education is well entrenched.

In The Bahamas the process of universalising primary education began in the last part of the 19th century when in 1878 the compulsory clause which made it mandatory for children between the ages of five and fourteen to attend school was added to the Education Act. It is not unreasonable to expect therefore a high rate of participation in education.

TABLE 4-A

PRIMARY SCHOOL POPULATION

1990 - 1999

ALL BAHAMAS

NEW PROVIDENCE

REST OF BAHAMAS

YEAR

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

1990

16472

15947

32419

10735

10432

21167

5737

5515

11252

1991

12652

16093

32745

10941

10601

21542

1711

5492

11203

1992

16797

16237

34034

11104

10754

21858

5693

5483

11176

1993

16889

16362

33251

11223

10894

22117

5676

5468

11144

1994

16939

16467

34406

11339

11049

22388

5600

5418

13018

1995

16988

16567

33555

11532

11278

22810

5456

5289

10745

1996

17150

17185

33885

11901

11650

23551

5249

5535

10784

1997

17338

16919

34277

12425

12152

24577

4913

4767

9680

1998

17600

17107

34707

13095

12771

25866

4505

4336

8841

1999

17844

17270

35124

13820

13432

27262

4024

3838

7862

Improving Accessibility

In order to give practical effect to the compulsory clause in the Education Act, the Government of The Bahamas was compelled to establish schools throughout the archipelago, in every settlement (town), wherever a relevant population resided. In some circumstances it was not unusual to find in the less populated areas the full range of classes/grades represented in a one-room school house being taught by one teacher, who in good times may have had the benefit of the assistance of a monitor. Nevertheless, the clause fostered a tradition of expecting an education.

By the decade of the nineties when countries were being encouraged to make the universilization of primary education a priority, it had already become a reality in The Bahamas. The Government could, therefore, turn its attention in the area of primary education to making schools more physically accessible and improving the instructional programme.

In respect to improving physical accessibility the intention was that schools should be located within a three-mile radius of children’s homes, thereby making it unnecessary for any child to travel more than three miles to school.

In the urban centres of New Providence and to a lesser extent Grand Bahama, this objective was achieved such that primary schools are now neighbourhood schools and are generally located within a three mile radius of children’s homes. Except in the case of team teaching schools, classes are held in self - contained classrooms with one teacher being responsible for one class, at one grade level.

The broad application of these principles to the siting of primary schools and the assigning of teachers throughout the country, however, is frustrated by population conditions prevailing in the rural areas/ family islands. The population drift into the urban centres, which began in the last decade and intensified, in the present decade, precipitated declining enrolments in the school age population in many family island settlements. In order to maintain a pedagogically sound curriculum and to reduce the inequities in opportunities between urban and rural environments resulting from this phenomenon, the Ministry of Education was obliged to introduce a programme of amalgamating schools and the subsequent establishment of central schools to which children are bussed and or ferried at the expense of the Government. A growing number of schools in the Family Islands are being affected by this situation.

Public Expenditure in primary education

One indicator of a country’s commitment to investment in education is the amount of the national budget allocated to the education sector. For most of the last two decades the Government of The Bahamas has been allocating to the education sector the largest percentage of the country’s public resources.

In terms of allocation as Table 5C shows, allocation ranged from 11.99% to 16.26%. Increases were to be noted on both the capital and recurrent sides.

Data on expenditure in education generally and primary education particularly are contained in Table 5. Table 5, however, is incomplete, as data on the GNP for the pertinent years are not available. Nevertheless, it was possible to obtain from the Department of Statistics, the education share in the GNP for the years 1993 – 1996. These data are reflected in Table 5a

Public Current Expenditure in primary education (a) as a percentage of GNP and (b) per pupil, as a percentage of GNP per capita are used to measure the relative emphasis given to investment in primary education.

Table 5B shows that with the exception of 1993, between 1990 and 1997 public expenditure in education generally and primary education particularly, increased each year. In 1991, 15.59% of the national budget was expended on education. By 1997 this had risen to 21.66%.

Table 5a illustrates the share of Education in the GNP for the years 1993 – 1996. It shows that the portion of the GNP expended on education was constant around

4 % ranging from a low of 4.03% in 1994 to a high of 4.31 % in 1996, indicating that the share is increasing.

Additionally, the portion of the Government budget allocated to education also reflects a pattern of incremental movements between 1990 and 1998.

Table 5b attempts to desegregate expenditure on education between recurrent and capital for the years 1990 – 1994

TABLE 5-A

SHARE OF EDUCATION IN GNP

1993 - 1996

YEAR

RATIO

1993

4.24

1994

4.03

1995

4.26

1996

4.31

Source: Department of Statistics

Increased allocations on the capital side resulted in the:

Between 1992 and 1999 six new primary schools were built: three in New Providence and three in the Family Islands.

Two major factors explain the increased expenditure on the recurrent side:

Teachers salaries and the procurement and maintenance of instructional equipment.

In the decade of the nineties teachers salaries underwent several revisions. In 1992, and in1997 with the most recent being in 1999. A further increase has been promised for 2001 and 2003. Between 1992 and 1999 teachers salaries have increased notably.

TABLE 5-B

EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION

1990 – 1994

YEAR

RECURRENT

EXPENDITURE

CAPITAL

TOTAL

1990

10,594,101

6,515,629

108,227,227

1991

10,386,566

6,697,587

110,563,255

1992

10,906,262

12,448,738

121,511,353

1993

10,106,549

N.A.

101,065,493

1994

92,362,011

9,700,755

106,773,473

Source: Ministry of Education, Planning Unit

As well, the Ministry of Education at the urging of The Bahamas Union of Teachers introduced a career path for teachers, a system, which would recognise and reward excellent teachers who choose to remain in the classroom. Additionally, The department of Education has introduced a technology plan, which will result in the complete computerisation of all primary schools.

Investment in education during the last three decades has tended to place equal emphasis on both primary and secondary levels of education. This action is supported by Government regulations. By virtue of extending the compulsory schooling age to 16, secondary education which begins in grade seven at 11 years and ends in grade 12 when children are 16 is now mandatory. As a result the State is obliged to make arrangements for its provision.

TABLE 5-C

BUDGET ALLOCATION AS A PERCENTAGE

OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET

1990 - 1998

YEAR

TOTAL GOVERNMENT

TOTAL EDUCATION (CAPITAL

& RECURRENT)

PERCENTAGE

(%)

1990/91

 

704,320,000

114,493,002

16.26

1991/92

775,200,00

106,959,717

13.80

1992/93

829,000,000

54,000,000 (Jan – Jun)

(100,554,412)

(Capital & Recurrent)

12.13

1993/94

883,000,000

105,000,000

(Capital & Recurrent)

11.99

1994/95

938,000,000

119,112,173

(Capital & Recurrent)

12.70

1995/96

 

N.A.

110,340,393

(Recurrent Only)

 

1996/97

902,000,000

110,312,173

(Recurrent Only)

12.23

1997/98

 

968,000.000

148,300,000*

15.32

Source: Ministry of Education, Planning Unit

Teachers in the Primary School

Academic Qualifications

In 1981, The College of The Bahamas, the institution charged with preparing teachers for the education system, introduced programmes leading to the Associate of Arts degree with Teacher Certification and phased out those programmes that lead to Teacher Certification, only. This action on the part of The College of The Bahamas precipitated a change in the qualifications required for teaching. As persons pursuing courses of study at COB would complete with both an academic and a professional credential, the Associate Degree became the minimum academic qualification for teaching in the country. This marked the beginning of a new trend in the profession, the requirement of an academic credential beyond secondary school. Prior to this time, the essential requirement was the professional certification, which could be obtained in a Teachers’ College.

In addition to the introduction of the Associate degree, COB had earlier in 1976, begun teaching the UWI Bachelor of Education programme. This enabled those serving teachers who did not have the opportunity to pursue the A.A. to upgrade their credentials, beyond the Teachers’ Certificate.

Between 1993 and the present, COB has been upgrading its Teacher Education programmes to the Bachelor’s level. In 1997, it introduced its Bachelor of Education (primary) for primary school teachers, such that all primary teachers prepared by COB now complete with a Bachelor’s degree. The net effect of this is that, while holders of the Associate Degree are still hired, the requirement for teachers joining the system is fast becoming a bachelor’s degree.

Table 6a indicates the percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications for the year 1996/1997. It shows that the majority – 76%, of teachers in the primary system at that time had at least an Associate Degree, provides an overview of the minimum academic

Professional Certification

Teacher Certification, or its equivalent, is mandatory for teaching in The Bahamas. So determined are the authorities on this, that funding is available for graduate teachers to pursue an in-service Diploma in Education with COB. Financial assistance in the form of in-service awards is also extended to serving teachers desirous of completing the bachelor degree.

Table 6b shows the percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards for the year 1997/1998. From this table the authorities’ emphasis is seen: less than 5% of the teachers in the primary system are without teacher certification. Those who are without certification are likely to be graduate teachers who are currently pursing the in-service diploma in education offered at COB.

TABLE 6-A

NUMBER OF MINISTRY OF EDUCATION TEACHERS

HAVING MINIMUM ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

MARCH 1997

 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENT

WITHOUT MINIMUM REQUIREMENT

TOTAL

MALE

 

362

74%

128

26%

490

FEMALE

 

1385

76%

432

24%

1817

TOTAL

 

1747

76%

560

24%

2307

TABLE 6-B

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS

IN THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PRIMARY & ALL AGE SCHOOL

1998

 

TRAINED

UNTRAINED

TOTAL

ALL BAHAMAS

1360

96%

64

4.5%

1424

NEW PROVIDENCE

754

97%

23

3.0%

777

REST OF BAHAMAS

606

94%

223 All Age

41

6%

647


Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR)

Table 7 indicates the pupil teacher ratio for the entire system. The data have not been segregated between primary and secondary. The pupil teacher ratio as indicated in tables is low.

In The Bahamas, the presence of Family Island schools with their low enrolment tend to obscure the class sizes characteristic of New Providence schools.

TABLE 7

THE NATIONAL TEACHER STUDENT RATIO

1990 – 1998

GOVERNMENT

INDEPENDENT

ALL BAHAMAS

YEAR TEACHERS STUDENTS RATIO TEACHERS STUDENTS RATIO TEACHERS STUDENTS

RATIO

1990/91

 

2411

45126

1:19

722

14595

1:20

313

59721

1:19

1991/92

 

2448

45765

1:19

868

14823

1:17

3316

60588

1:19

1992/93

 

2488

46459

1:19

861

14710

1:17

3349

61169

1:19

1993/94

 

2540

46622

1:18

873

15354

1:18

3413

61976

1:18

1994/95

 

2550

45843

1:18

880

15417

1:17

3430

61260

1:18

1995/96

 

2791

46105

1:17

971

15595

1:16

3762

61700

1:17

1996/97

 

2573

47130

1:18

916

14559

1:16

3489

61689

1:18

1997/98

 

3088

47552

1:15

806

15551

1:19

3894

63103

1:15

Source: Ministry of Education, Planning Unit


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