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Statement from the Hon Susan Jackson, JP, who is the spokesperson for Education in the Lower House

By July 3, 2023July 4th, 2023No Comments

Students, parents and teachers within the Bermuda Public School System should be proud of their accomplishments achieved during the 2022/2023 academic year—despite the cloud of uncertainty hanging over some of their futures courtesy of the Progressive Labour Party (PLP).

The One Bermuda Alliance especially congratulates the class of 2023, and wishes them the best as they prepare for the next stages of their lives.

The public school system has experienced a number of challenges this past academic year. It began last September with parents’ and caregivers’ very extended delay in receiving the back to school $150 relief grant.

Against the backdrop of the continual escalating cost of living in Bermuda, the PLP dangled the proverbial carrot before the mouths of locals, and was failing to deliver. While to some the $150 wasn’t much, to others, it was a small lifeline.

Halfway through the school year, parents and students were caught off guard when it was announced by the Minister of Education that a number of schools were earmarked to close.

Despite the vehement protests, the Government has been steadfast in pursuing its plans. While the Minister says the voices of education stakeholders are being heard, the One Bermuda Alliance questions whether this is in fact true, or simply more lip service.

Decisions taken appear unsympathetic, leaving parents and teachers scrambling to understand the impact of these transitions on their families.

Many parents and teachers are still waiting for confirmation of school placements. Parents don’t know where their children will go to school in September and whether children needing additional resources will be identified and supported through this transition.

How will parents whose children have to travel further from home as a result of moving to a new school be able to afford increased transport costs?

In May of this year, the education minister reinforced his lack of transparency, when a video was leaked of him speaking against the PTA at St. George’s Preparatory School.

A number of parents who applied for their children to attend Purvis Parish Primary have been left hanging after their applications have not only been rejected, but have not been offered an alternative entry elsewhere. This is deplorable. Again, how can anyone plan for September like this?

Our community should not be experiencing stress where their children’s education is concerned.
The public school community should be receiving an overarching message that should be, clear and concise including a compassionate message that the education ministry understands the transitions parents are going through and the stress it’s putting on the families.

Despite all the disruption, students are progressing and gaining as much knowledge as they can in these turbulent times. Much gratitude to teachers who have maintained their commitment and composure throughout this school year.

Government said they were going to have a plan and parents need to know now what’s happening sooner rather than later.