Lloyd outlines plans for education if FNM wins election
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 09, 2017
Free National Movement (FNM) South Beach candidate Jeffrey Lloyd yesterday asserted that the current educational system needs “urgent and compelling” reform, with the extension of school days and a change in the age children are enrolled in school.
FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has said Lloyd would be made education minister if the FNM becomes the next government.
“The most fundamental reform this country needs at this time is we must dramatically improve the quality of literacy and numeracy in our students, particularly in the formative years of their lives and I mean between zero and five,” he said.
“I should even say literacy, numeracy and oracy.
“In other words, the ability to write and understand that which is written, either by themselves or by others.
“The ability to calculate at a level of effectiveness and erudition and the ability to speak; to speak properly, confidently and knowledgeably, that’s fundamental.”
Lloyd said in order for this to be achieved the age at which children begin school and end their schooling, as outlined by the Education Act, should change.
The Education Act guarantees access to free education for all residents of The Bahamas between the ages of five to 16.
Lloyd said this should change to three to 17.
“As soon as a child is potty trained, that child should be in some form of government funded education program, where those basics are emphasized or mastered,” Lloyd said.
“I would also suggest respectfully that the period between zero and three, which I call early childhood education, should be vigorously encouraged and enforced and supported, including financially, by the government.”
Lloyd said there needs to be massive training and retraining of teachers.
He also said the current school day — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — is entirely too short.
“Countries around the world…have school days beginning at 8 o’clock in the morning and in some instances ending at 5 o’clock,” he said.
“In our instance we have a school year of 180 days; that is too short.
“We need to be moving to 185-190 [days]. I would even recommend 200 school days a year.
“So these are in my estimation the most critical factors in the reformation of education.
“Obviously there are others, but these are the most critical that must be implemented immediately.”