Good Morning and thank you for coming,
I am pleased to be here today to provide further updates on key initiatives currently in progress within the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development.
Let me start first by sharing about the initiative that the Department of Workforce Development launched at the beginning of October. The Department undertook a registration drive to develop a list of all persons working in the designated occupations of Welder, Automotive Service Technician, Electrician and Landscape Gardener. Both Bermudians and non-Bermudians employed in these designated occupations were encouraged to register at the Department of Workforce Development without paying the required registration fee of $265.
The registration drive steadily continues. Several trades man have already registered taking advantage of the fee waiver. As of last week, the Department of Workforce Development reported that a total of 713 have registered
- 412 Landscapers;
- 97 Auto Mechanics;
- 182 Electricians; and,
- 22 Welders
visited their office and registered in each of these ‘designated’ occupations.
The Department of Workforce Development will continue to receive registration applications and the registration fee will be waived until December 31st 2017 to ensure a comprehensive file is obtained. It is important that we get this certification process correct as it will lead to the protection of Bermudian workers in the designated fields. Let me take this opportunity tp encourage those working in these fields to come in and get registered.
Education Strategic Plan Update
After nine months of continuous meetings, community discussions, and steady technical work, the Board of Education is bringing closure to the production of a community-driven multi-year Strategic Plan for the Bermuda Public School System.
During the month of October, a subcommittee of the Board of Education spent time in several working sessions ensuring that recommendations from the general public that were obtained during the last round of community meetings held in September, were collated and included in the Strategic Plan. This morning the Board of Education met and was presented with the e finished product - a Strategic Plan for the Bermuda Public School System. During this time the Strategic Plan was presented to and ratified by Board members.
I look forward to receiving the final report of the Strategic Plan from the Chair of the Board of Education tomorrow. For me it was indeed rewarding to have participated in helping to shape this Strategic Plan in my role as a parent with a daughter in the public school system. I attended several community meetings and joined in with other parents and community advocates of public school education to provide the necessary input and feedback on what we desired to see for transforming our public school system. I look forward to sharing the final product with my Colleagues shortly. It is intended that the Strategic Plan will be provided to all key stakeholders and the general public by early December 2017.
Wi-Fi Installation In Public Schools
The installation of Wi-Fi in schools to cover computer labs, libraries and gyms is currently underway and will be finished by the start of 2018 School year. We have a plan to roll out Wi-FI over the course of this school year but it is important to note that any Wi-Fi installation will allow MOED devices to connect only. An internet usage policy is being developed and once in place, will govern usage, there will be no unfettered use by students or teachers. Internet will be restricted to educational use by schools only. Addionally, proposal for computers to outfit all primary school computer labs with new desktops was issued in August and submissions are being evaluated. The plan has these desktops installations to begin in January2018.
Health And Safety In Schools
I am pleased to announce that the Government’s Safety and Health Officer from the Cabinet Office has completed inspection of all schools and is currently compiling a collated report of all inspections. I anticipate receiving the report so we can look to put together a comprehensive plan to address the findings of this report. The plan to conduct comprehensive Building Surveys of our schools is still forthcoming and on track to commence in the near future.
Leadership At The Department Of Education
At this time, I cannot comment in detail about the post of Commissioner of Education however, I do want to assure our key stakeholders and the general public that despite the current transition in leadership, the Department of Education continues to deliver on the educational programmes and services needed to ensure our students are receiving a quality education.
I am very grateful to Ministry and Department of Education staff who remain focused and are working diligently as a team to progress the work of the Department of Education.
The continued support, underscored by strong principal leadership at each school during the past month is very encouraging. The work that goes on in our schools every day is critically important and our principals, teachers, and support staff in schools are committed to ensure that their respective schools are actively engaged in sustaining an environment needed for effective teaching and continuous learning in the classroom.
I solicit the continued support of all stakeholders, community education advocates, the business fraternity and the general public, as we endeavor to put our children first and to ensure overall success their future and for our public school system.