Dr. Minnis, Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), issued the following statement on the desperately needed educational reforms:
“The Free National Movement is dedicated to making sure that all Bahamian people know that the FNM is going to change the way that we educate and train our children and other learners. We will immediately begin the crucial and significant investment in our learners, teachers, educational professionals and infrastructure, including technology, to ensure positive, sustainable outcomes in the near future and beyond. These changes are compelling, and our society cannot afford to wait any longer.
“Too many of our children leave school without the skills needed to become contributing members of the society and so our curriculum changes will include the introduction of skills and vocational training in all high schools, a greater emphasis on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and the establishment of magnet schools.
“We will increase the number of school hours per day and number of school days per year to provide our students with supervised training for a longer period of time that exists at present.
“Particular attention will be given to early childhood and preschool education and additional opportunities will be given to all qualified Bahamian students to complete tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas for free.
“It is the FNM’s commitment that all Bahamians, irrespective of their social, economic, ethnic or learning capacities, will be given the opportunity to realize their maximum potential in a broad, expansive and accommodating educational system.
“Accordingly, an FNM Government will enact inclusive education policies, to address intervention programmes tailored to the individual needs for persons with a disability; will enact programmes targeting social emotional competence and prevention of violence for at risk youth and will develop collaborative partnerships with community organizations (i.e., private sector) and parents aimed at creating and mobilizing a comprehensive network of high quality services to meet the needs of all learners.
“An FNM Government commits to the Bahamian a culture of accountability, openness and excellence so that the presently wasted tens of millions of dollars, otherwise spent on unaccountable exercises such as Carnival and others will be more wisely invested in education programs for all learners. The FNM will be the government that puts the needs of our youth before the needs of the politically connected.
“The FNM Change Team stands with Bahamians seeking to reverse the treacherous decline of our beloved Bahamas. This is not about an election, but rather about the future and the vitality of The Bahamas.
“The FNM promises that fundamental, organic and systemic change is coming through an assembled group of people whose diverse backgrounds and matchless and unselfish competencies will serve the highest aspirations of our people. That commitment extends especially to the youth and young adults of this nation who’s prescient and explosive potential demands a society that permits their maximum fulfilment. They deserve nothing less from their leaders.”