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Given the existing challenges in the Bahamas public education system, ORG sees a need to create alternative learning environments that can facilitate innovation and learning.

These can take the form of  Partnership schools. Partnership Schools are similar to charter schools in the US, free schools in the UK, and partnership schools in NZ), using both public and private funding , will be free from current systems and regulations and will serve as settings to pilot proven innovative and modern education approaches that can be tested in a Bahamian Context and with students that are in need.  ORG envisions 10- 15 Partnership Schools across The Bahamas.

To determine how such schools could be best established in The Bahamas, ORG commissioned Scott Hamilton, an internationally recognized Educational expert and leader to research  the topic  and generate a report.

In taking from international best practices toward the creation and operations of independent public schools, and in applying these to the politics, government, and geography/population distribution of The Bahamas, Mr. Hamilton recommends the following  11 key ingredients for a successful independent public schools:

  1. Allowance for the creation of 15 independent public schools, called Partnership Schools. (This would be just less than 10% of the public schools across The Bahamas, and it would likely result in 8-10 Partnership Schools in Nassau and 5-7 schools total across Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, and Exuma.)

  2. Provision of a per-pupil funding amount equal to the average annual operating and capital expenditure per pupil determined simply by a clear formula (e.g. the annual Ministry of Education budget for pre-school, primary, and secondary education divided by the number of public school pupils enrolled). This year that amount is approximately $4,800.

  3. Creation of an Independent Partnership School Board to grant and oversee contracts to founding groups seeking to sponsor a new independent public school. This seven-person board would have a modest budget, a staff of 1-2 people, and would be comprised of 3 members appointed by the University of The Bahamas and 2 members appointed by The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation and 2 members appointed by Civil Society.

  4. Requirement that students in Partnership Schools take the same tests annually required of all Bahamian public school students.

  5. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment and Expulsion Procedures, which must be followed by all Partnership Schools.

  6. The contract term of Partnership Schools will be 7 years, with conditions stipulated for the non-renewal of a contract at the end of each term.

  7. Provision that the Government (not strictly the Ministry of Education) make excess publically owned and controlled space available for use by Partnership Schools for their facilities.

  8. Exemptions from most Bahamian Education laws, except for those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information requirements, and generally accepted accounting principles.

  9. Exemption from collective bargaining, whereby Partnership Schools are exempt from any outside collective bargaining agreements, while not interfering with laws and other applicable rules protecting the rights of employees to organize and be free from discrimination.

  10. Allowance for the private school and religious entities to operate Partnership Schools as state schools but be allowed to retain their special characteristics and programming.

  11. Allowance for educational service providers (non-profit and for-profit school operating entities), provided there is a clear performance contract between the Partnership School board of trustees and the service provider, and there are no conflicts of interest between the two entities.  

Learn more in ORG’s Education Report 

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  • published this page in Initiatives 2017-04-10 12:44:39 -0400