Jackson pledges to reform public schools

  • Key post: Tim Jackson, the new chairman of the Board of Education (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Barriers to the success of public school pupils must be swept aside, the new head of the education board said yesterday.

Tim Jackson said: “While we have a significant number of students graduating from the Bermuda public school system who are doing well, we must also address the roadblocks that prevent some of our students from demonstrating their potential and abilities.

“As a board, we must work diligently to ensure that students and educators operate in schools that are clean, safe and operational.”

Dr Jackson was speaking after he was appointed chairman of the Board of Education.

The veteran teacher has more than two decades of public education experience in Bermuda and the United States.

He served as head teacher at Sandys Secondary Middle School from 2007 to 2016.

Dr Jackson also taught at Whitney Institute and was deputy principal at CedarBridge Academy.

He said that the public often heard about the “negativity of public schools, and how they are failing our young people”.

Dr Jackson added: “While I have the microphone, I will take the liberty of sharing a snapshot of the countless achievements and accomplishments of young Bermudians who have been educated in the Bermuda public school system.”

He highlighted one former CedarBridge Academy pupil who went on to the University of Technology in Jamaica for a degree in mechanical engineering and last year completed a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at Imperial College, London, one of the world’s premier science and technology universities.

Dr Jackson added that four former Berkeley Institute pupils are now studying a variety of subjects at St John’s University in New York City, including risk management and underwriting.

He said that Bermuda’s Plan 2022 strategy for education insisted that public school leavers must be “well prepared socially, emotionally and academically for postsecondary success”.

He added: “All students will have diverse and engaging learning opportunities.

“Furthermore, students will not just be exposed to a college-focused curriculum. They will also have access to career-focused training.

Plan 2022 will ensure that each child is on an individualised pathway to personal success — a pathway that truly takes into account personal needs and interests.”

Dr Jackson said that the board looked forward to “rolling up our sleeves and doing what is in the best interest of one of our most precious natural resources.”

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said that Dr Jackson had a proven track record as a teacher.

He added that a strong board of education was crucial in helping to improve the education system.

Mr Rabain said: “We need strong visionaries and people committed to not only providing guidance but willing to hold those leading this reform accountable.”

He added that the public education system faced “unique challenges”.

Mr Rabain said: “The new board chairman and members have given their commitment to performing the tasks needed to reform education in Bermuda.”

He added that the board had been asked to tackle increased incidents of disruptive behaviour in classrooms and add its views on the Government’s proposal to phase out middle schools.

Ru-Zelda Severin was appointed to the deputy chairwoman’s role.

Ms Severin is a senior lecturer of Music and Education at Bermuda College.

She has taught from preschool to university level during her 30-year career in education.

To read statements in full from Diallo Rabain and Tim Jackson, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”