Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Top Achievers in 2020 National Exams Receive Awards

Top achievers from public and private institutions throughout the country who excelled in the 2020 national Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations were celebrated at the National Awards Presentations hosted by the Examination & Assessment Division of the Ministry of Education.

Stephanardo Rolle accepts his award for Best Overall BJC Performance by a male
in Government Schools from the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education.




Kerrine Simeon is the recipient of the Best Overall BJC Performance in Government Schools’ award. She receives her award from the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education.




Cherkadin Wells is the recipient of the Most Outstanding BJC performance award, Best Overall BJC Performance in Independent Schools and BJC Best by Island (New Providence) award. Minister Jeffrey Lloyd presents him with his awards.



Chardonnay Garrick, a student of the University of The Bahamas, received the Marjorie Davis Award for Best Overall BGCSE Performance in Government Schools. She is pictured centre with the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education and Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Kamori Sawyer accepts awards from the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education. She is the recipient of the Paul Adderley Award for Most Outstanding BGCSE Performance, the Carol Hanna Award for Best Overall BGCSE Performance in Independent Schools and BGCSE Best by Island (New Providence).



BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham

MOE Pays Tribute to ‘Well-Loved’ Teacher Killed in Classroom

The man found shot dead in a classroom on New Years Day at the Stapledon School has been identified as a physical education teacher at the Dolphin Drive campus.

On Sunday, officials at the Ministry of Education expressed grief at the death of its employee, Andrew Valdez.

Valdez, described as “a burst of energy,” spent three years at the school, also assisting in the school’s agriculture program.

Principal Amanda Moncur said Valdez was dependable, a willing team player, and well-loved by the staff and students.

Valdez spent five years in Long Island before his transfer to Stapeldon School.

On Friday, just before noon, police officers responded to a call and were directed to a northwestern classroom where a man was found lying in a pool of blood.

Assistant Superintendent Audley Peters said investigators were following a significant lead that can possibly lead to the closure of investigations as early as this week.

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said he expressed sympathies to the mother and other family members of Valdez.

United Sanitation Services Gifts Students with 80 Tablets for Online Learning

Owner of United Station Services Henry Dean is doing his part to ensure every child in the country as a tablet for the continuation of online learning, as schools remain physically closed.

He presented the Ministry of Education with 80 tablets for the T.G Glover Primary School.

Dean lives in the neighborhood and wanted to assist the children in his community.

“I owe this to T.G. Glover.

“T.G. Glover is personal and profound to us because we live here. I believe that a good number of students who attend T.G. Glover come from the surrounding area. It would be foolish of us not to pay attention to what’s next door. We want to encourage, enhance, support those in the neighborhood academically but it goes beyond that.

“My presence and involvement bring respectability to the environment. We want to continue to build that kind of reputation,” Dean said.

Education Minister Jeff Lloyd expressed his gratitude to Dean for the donation.

“We will not stop until every student, every educator has a device in his/her hand.
By the end of this year, we expect to achieve that. We expect that the 46,000
students in the public school and the 45,000 educators, administrators, teachers
will have an appropriate device capacitated to deal with online learning,” Lloyd said.

Dean said he has provided education for his children and wished for other children to have the same opportunity.

“I know what the value of education is. I have invested in it and seen it produce. My
children have succeeded, but they can’t be the only ones to succeed. This would
be a troubled society for all of us.”

United Sanitation Services is the oldest private garbage collection company in New Providence.

(BIS photo/Derek Smith)

Technical Issues Took Down MOE Online Portal

In what has become a disappointing first day of school, technical difficulties befell the start of the 2020 school year.

Students and teachers were unable to access the Ministry of Education’s online learning portal.

For about six hours users were greeted with “undergoing maintenance…we’re doing some work on the site and will be back shortly.”

The cause?

Officials of the Ministry of Education issued a statement late Tuesday evening saying the department of education experienced “some technical issues,” preventing access to the Learning Management System.

When will the situation be fixed?

The ministry said One on One and Amazon Web Services, the companies responsible for hosting the platform are working to fix the technical issues, and said it is hoped the challenges are addressed quickly.

What did the Teachers Union President say?

Belinda Wilson said teachers were not notified by the ministry of the technical challenges.

She advised teachers that if the issue persists on Wednesday, they should log on to the system, take a photo of the web page, sign-in at the school’s register and sign out at 12noon.

It is hoped that the online portal will be running by 9 am on Wednesday. If not, schools may choose to continue with the Zoom platform.

Schools Online Portal Crashes on First Day

It was back-to-school for thousands of students, but they encountered connectivity issues with the Ministry of Education’s online learning portal, on their first day.

As teachers and students attempted to sign in, they were greeted with a sign that read, “Undergoing maintenance. Thank you for being patient. We’re doing some work on the site and will be back shortly.”

Users were unable to access the Ministry of Education online learning portal.

As of three o’clock, the end of a school day, the ministry had not yet issued a notice or press release informing users of the connectivity issues.

Complaints flood in

Parents took to social media to vent their frustration, as they chronicled the agony of signing on their children for the first day of school.

Monica Sawyer said, “Mr. Minister, this ain’t working.”

Dedrie Hamilton who has three school-aged children said, ” I have three kids in school–grades 12, 10 and 5. No luck with MOE. It’s really frustrating.”

And Adreanna Martin said, “I been trying to get on, still nothing is happening.”

Teachers resort to Zoom

Anticipating issues with the new online portal, the Redcross Center for the Deaf used the Zoom platform to engage its students.

The school tested the platform last week for its students and decided to continue its use for the month of October.

A teacher who wanted to remain anonymous said her school did not get an update from the ministry on the use of the online virtual portal nor did teachers receive training on its use, so her school resorted to Zoom, a tried and true platform that has arisen in popularity since the onset of the pandemic.

Ministry says it will fix the problem

When CSJ Report called the ministry, a secretary said technicians were working to rectify the problem. She said her office has been bombarded with calls from concern parents were trying to log on but were unable to do so. The secretary said teachers have uploaded assignments to the portal but students are unable to access them due to an issue “on our side.” The issue is expected to be addressed by Thursday morning.

Schools Reopen on Monday. What Should We Expect from President Wilson?

President of Bahamas Union of Teachers Belinda Wilson threatens industrial action if the Ministry of Education does not present a clear plan of its reopening procedures, as public schools begin the new school year on Monday.

In a voice note, Wilson said,”They (education officials) keep sending me the guidelines (health and safety) for the Ministry of Environmental Health. We’re asking how the Ministry of Environmental Health guidelines equate to what happens in schools.

“So it seems, the only language the education officials understand is industrial action.”

She said after six months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, confusion and uncertainty about the health and safety protocols for teachers and students still loom.

Schools with recent COVID-19 cases on campus according to Wilson

Wilson said these schools were recently reported:

  • R.M Bailey High School
  • Anatol Rodgers School
  • Carlton E. Francis Primary School
  • Willard Patton Preschool
  • Albury Sayles Primary School
  • A.F Adderley Junior High
  • C.H. Reeves Junior School

Belinda Wilson wants a seat at the table

Wilson wants the Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, Permanent Secretary Lorraine Armbrister and Director Marcellus Taylor “to mature.”

She is calling on them to meet with the union to agree to a workable plan for the reopening of schools, adding that other issues plague the system since schools will reopen using a digital platform.

Digital challenges claimed by Wilson

  • challenges with the tablets
  • internet connection
  • curriculum content on the platform
  • teachers can not log on to the platform for training

Belinda’s rocky relationship with education officials may hamper other discussions

Wilson’s relationship with Director Marcellus Taylor is known to be rocky, but her relationship has recently hit a rough spot with the education minister when Lloyd said Wilson sent him WhatsApp messages containing the words “f— y’all.”

Lloyd said his ministry will not hold discussions with Wilson until she apologizes and stops behaving in a “disrespectful and insulting” manner.

Lloyd told reporters that his ministry has tried its best to work with Wilson but to no avail as her actions have threatened the quality of education for Bahamian students.

Featured Image: Tribune

Are Teachers and Students Struggling with MOE Tablets for Online Learning? Education Officials Say ‘Not So’

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Education issued a statement refuting claims posted on social media that its recent purchase of tablets for online learning is incompatible with the Zoom platform.

The Ministry of Education called attention to the post and labelled it “fake news” stating that it “has not purchased any devices that were not compatible with its platform.”

Their press statement goes on to say all of its devices, including the donated devices, are being used “in the management of school operations in the collection of data in the field and on our Office 365 Platform for the creation and sharing of documents.”

What are the claims by the social media user and did the Ministry of Education address the concerns?

The post tweeted by Latrae Rahming, a former press secretary in the Christie administration, claimed that the Ministry of Education  spent millions of dollars on computer tablets for virtual learning, finding out later that “the tablets were incompatible with the Zoom platform.”

Rahming claimed that because of this, the tablets “could not be used.”

When the Ministry fought back, it did not mention the tablets’ compatibility for the Zoom platform which shot to fame during the coronavirus lockdowns, becoming a leading platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.

However, the Ministry of Education stated that the tablets were compatible for its Office 365 platform.

What are the claims by teachers?

A few teachers in response to the post, have agreed with Rahming, claiming that tablets are not compatible with Zoom.

One claiming to be an educator said, “It’s definitely not fake news.”

Another said, “…attempted to access all mentioned in this document with no success.”

President of Bahamas Union of Teachers Belinda Wilson in a spat with the Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd, told the Tribune that Lloyd “needs to make sure that schools throughout the Bahamas have reliable internet access, teachers have laptops and not tablets that are incompatible with Zoom platform.”

How many tablets were distributed?

Jeff Lloyd, in a report to the country last month, said his Ministry distributed 9,000 tablets to students in grades K–3 and seeks to assist more students in the lower primary level.

He said digital devices such as tablets, laptops, and projectors were distributed to
pre-school and lower primary schools on New Providence, Eleuthera, Exuma, Long Island, Cat Island, South Andros, Acklins, San Salvador, Mayaguana and East Grand Bahama.

Lloyd added that approximately 500 school administrators have received devices in the
form of tablets, due to the Ministry’s partnership with BTC. Additionally, all teachers have access to a device along with high-speed internet connectivity on their school’s campus.

Since then, private partners have donated tablets to the Ministry.