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Reasons for the low levels of educational achievement in the Bahamas.

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Introduction

Education is the foundation of success for any person, community ad country. Because the improvement of any nation relies on the knowledge of its people, education or a lack thereof, is a mighty force that can either break or make a country. A review of the history of The Bahamas would reveal the lackadaisical attitudes the majority of Bahamians had towards education. In the past people did not think it necessary to educate themselves formally. Instead, they learnt through a "good ole" teacher called "experience" or through apprenticeship opportunities where the elder and more experiences persons would show workers how to proceed (Turner, 1968). Presently, Bahamians have come to realize the importance of education and emphasis has been put on the education of Bahamian people primarily through traditional primary and secondary schooling. In the Bahamian schools, examinations are taken in the ninth and final year (usually) in order to test students' understanding of all the material learnt over the previous years leading up to these exams. Although one is just as important as the next, it is the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Educations (BGCSE) Examinations that require much deliberation since this is the "measure of output... immediately related to occupational futures" (Johnson, 1988, p.40). ...read more.

Middle

Veronica Owens, in particular, Ministry of Education parliamentary secretary in 2006, blames parents because of their failure "to motivate their children to take education seriously" (Kelly, 2006, p.16). How do parents expect for their children to perform well in school if they do not make an overt effort to be involved in their child's education? A deficiency in parental guidance and concern are reflected in low results on the BGCSEs. Although it is offered that parents have contributed to the failure of the educational system and are held responsible for these low BGCSE grades, in the eyes of many Bahamians, the Government is mainly to blame. Why is it that under both political parties, The Free National Movement (FNM) and The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), that the overall grade average has not improved by much, questions Cassius Stuart, The Bahamas Democratic Movement leader. According to Stuart they both have failed in this critical area of our society which should be of much concern (Brennen, 2005). He made mention that too many of our graduates are leaving school unqualified. Due to our lack of natural resources, Mr. Stuart explained, we must show even more concern for the education of our people (Brennen, 2005). In this regard, the Government is held responsible for the failure in the BGCSEs because of their inconsideration for escalation of the educational system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Allen questions whether children "exposed to such mindsets" should be expected to develop into competitive countrymen. Rather, Allen (2005) concluded that "the quality of individuals attracted to the teaching profession in The Bahamas must improve if any kind of leap forward in education is to happen" (para.15). In realizing the importance of education Bahamians show an overall interest in the annual performance of students on the BGCSE examinations results. Because of the poor National Average for the country, identifying the causes of these grades is of much concern. It seems as though many Bahamians believe that it is the parents of the students taking the examinations and the defects in the educational systems which account for the low National BGCSE overall mean grade. Specifically, a finger has been pointed at single parent family homes and parents who show a lack of interest in their child's education. Persons have blamed the Government who must improve the standards of the schools in The Bahamas and the conditions under which teachers must work. And lastly, the quality of teachers themselves are causes of concern because of unacceptable teaching practices and closed mindsets towards what children should and should not be taught. Until all the issues are addressed surrounding the environment our students are brought up in, parental guidance and the educational system, there is little hope that the National BGCSE mean grade will progress. ...read more.

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