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As the 2021/2022 school year approaches, the Rotary Bahamas Disaster Relief Organisation on Monday, August 16th, 2021 donated $250,000 worth of educational supplies and equipment to the 13 schools in the Abaco District. The organisation, in honour of Bahamian Olympic gold medalist Steven Gardiner also donated a generator to the Olympian’s former school, Moore’s Island All-Age School. The 400m Olympic champion along with Rotarians and Ministry of Education officials were present for the handover which took place on the grounds of the Ivy Dumont Building, University Drive.

Rotary Bahamas Disaster Relief Director of Operations, Kendal Strachan in making the presentation noted that the organisation which was founded in 2019 is guided by the mission to respond to all types of disasters and to provide service to others. Accordingly, this donation is a direct response to the devastation which came as a result of Hurricane Dorian.

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd in accepting the donations exclaimed that the overall success of our students would not be possible without partners such as Rotary organisations.

Among the attendees were Past Rotary International President, Barry Rassin, Past 7020 District Governor, Charles Sealy, and Pastor of Zion Baptist Church East & Shirley Streets, Reverend Terrance Morrison. 

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Ryan Salame, president of FTX Digital Markets, a global leader in cryptocurrency trading, paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Education, the Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd to make a twenty thousand-dollar donation to the Ministry of Education. Mr Salame told Minister Lloyd, that it was FTX‘s mission to better communities where it has established a presence. The company has a record of donating to the world’s most effective charities and to date, its affiliates and employees have donated over $10m to help save lives, prevent suffering, and ensure a brighter future for many.

Minister Lloyd thanked Mr. Salame and his colleagues who accompanied him - Allyson Maynard-Gibson, attorney and Valdez Russell, director of Government and Community Relations for FTX. He informed the group that the donation will assist the Ministry in its ongoing efforts to ensure that challenged students within the public educator sector have tablets and internet access to facilitate their virtual learning in the new school year.

Mrs. Gibson Maynard thanked Minister Lloyd for his role in the passage of Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill, 2020 (DARE) which has transformed the financial services in The Bahamas.

Mr. Russell indicated that FTX has already provided contributions to assist students returning to school abroad and Hands for Hunger to enable parents in New Providence and the Family Islands to provide lunch and other supplies for their children. The company will also make future donations to the Ministry of Social Services and to schools in Long Island and Abaco.

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The Ministry of Education headquarters, located on University Drive, was officially named the Ivy L. Dumont Building during a naming ceremony, which was attended by the 90 year old honouree Dame Ivy, the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers along with the Dame’s family and friends, on Monday July 5, 2021.

In keeping with Covid 19 health and safety protocols Dame Ivy, flanked by her daughter Edda Adolph, fist bumped Prime Minister the Most Honourable Hubert Minnis and the welcoming party, which included Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Iram Lewis, as well as Permanent Secretaries Lorraine Armbrister and Eugene Poitier.

The live televised event started with a preshow with recorded tributes by two former Permanent Secretaries, Iris Pinder and Elma Garraway; Deputy Director of Education Sharon Poitier, as well as former Cabinet Minister Zhivargo Laing. The programme included remarks by Ministers Lloyd and Lewis, prayers by the Dame’s Pastor Benjamin Smith of Emmanuel Gospel Chapel and entertainment by high school students.

Keynote speaker, Prime Minister Minnis lauded Dame Ivy as a trailblazer, noting her many achievements over the decades, many of them “firsts.” In her remarks the Dame thanked the government for the honour, and stated that since the 93,000 square foot building now bears her name, she expects that it will be maintained in a manner befitting her standards and values.

Employees of the Ministry of Education have been occupying the expansive facilitlies since October 2003, along with staff from the Ministry of Youth. The structure was built by Carl G. Treco Construction Co., while ARCOP Architects provided the architectural services.

Uriah McPhee Primary Art Exhibition

An art exhibition under the theme, “Preserving Our Coral Reefs” took place on May 20, 2021, and featured artworks by the Uriah McPhee Primary School students. The exhibition commenced with the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, which was executed by Mrs. Patricia Minnis, Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister. A spirit-filled prayer was offered up by Mr. Keyshawn Dean, Head Boy of Uriah McPhee Primary School. Mrs. Kathryn Campbell, Senior Information Officer for Bahamas Information Services (BIS), gave a warm welcome, where she invited the audience to “Join us as we go on a fantastic voyage, and explore the rain forest of the sea.” Mr. Trevon Taylor, Grade 3 student gave a testimony on creating his art project, and explained that his construct was the coral reef, which he made out of recycled materials. Mr. Taylor also informed the audience that he used “small wood pieces, a very sharp drill, a sticky lead pencil, and sprayed with white, blue and green paint” to bring his masterpiece to life. Mrs. Pamela Armaly, principal of Uriah McPhee Primary School, expressed that the 2020/2021 school year was very challenging. However, she noted that the students’ creative talents did not waver as a result. She stated, “As we moved through these unchartered waters, we had to find unfamiliar ways to achieve our schools’ objectives.” Ms. Armaly spoke of the art exhibition’s genesis. She recalled the many ideas science coordinator, Mrs. Shavel Knowles suggested, with the most fitting being to have all 621 students create a marine animal found in the coral reef ecosystem, which is in line with the theme “Preserving Our Coral Reefs”. Mrs. Armaly went on to thank Mrs. Saskia D’Aguilar, Director of D’Aguilar Art Foundation, and Ms. Tessa Whitehead, Bahamian artist and curator of The D'Aguilar Art Foundation, for the support they gave to the students, and for donating art supplies.

Parliamentarians were also present for this auspicious occasion including: The Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of Environment & Housing; The Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education; and The Hon. Dionisio James D'Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation.

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Minister Ferreira stated that he was very pleased to see students taking responsibility for the environment, and that he was proud of them. Minister Lloyd in his remarks, thanked Mrs. Pamela Armaly, Mrs. Shavel Knowles, and Ms. Tessa Whitehead for the outstanding work that they are doing in the Kemp Road area. Mrs. Saskia D’Aguilar thanked everyone who made the art exhibit possible. She went on to give a special thank you to Mrs. Pamela Armaly, and all of the administrators at Uriah McPhee for their support and inspiration to the students. After the official opening ceremony concluded, all in attendance were given an opportunity to view the creative works of art produced by the talented students of Uriah McPhee Primary School.

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It was no ordinary day at Columbus Primary School as Science studies took on a whole new life for the 4th and 5th grade students who were privileged to take part in a workshop which focused on Climate Change, and its effect on Global warming, and our environment. The workshop was organized by Ms. Lakia Brown, Science Specialist at the Sadie Curtis and Columbus Primary Schools, as part of Science Month, held in conjunction with STEM, a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines, namely; science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Ms. Sheena Davis, proprietor of Innovative Science, served as the science instructor for the students.

The students were both curious and excited, as the most energetic Ms. Davis engaged them in a variety of topics pertaining to climate change, some of which topics included: greenhouse gases, types of radiation, fossil fuels, and pollution. After an informative lecture on Global Warming, the students were allowed to take part in a hands-on experiment replicating global warming in a jar; where short-wave radiation from sunlight passes freely through the glass and is converted to long-wave radiation inside. However, the long-wave radiation cannot pass back out through the glass, resulting in a build-up of heat inside the jars from the captured solar energy. The students enjoyed a wonderful learning experience as they all took part in this enlightening experiment.

Ms. Jani-Ya Rolle, ten year old 5th grade student stated that she likes science a lot and enjoyed learning about the effects of global warming on our planet. Mrs. Barbara Dorsett, Senior Education Officer, Ministry of Education, oversaw the Science Workshop, ensuring everything ran smoothly, and that all of the students were participating.

All and all, it was a fantastic day of discovery, experimenting, and learning at Columbus Primary School.

The Ministry of Education’s Primary School Science coordinators participated in a summer workshop entitled “It’s Chemistry” on July 6th, 2021 held at the Adventure Learning Centre. New Providence based teachers enthusiastically participated in several projects designed to give tips to teachers to make the subject of chemistry more appealing to students. Other teachers including those from the Family Islands joined in the event streamed live on the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page.

MOE’s Education Officer for Curriculum Barbara Dorsett termed the workshop as successful as the presenters, four primary school science teachers each offered practical advice using everyday household items to bring the science of chemistry to life to students. All presenters noted that they are looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year to build upon the unexpected successes of students who showed resilience by adapting to virtual learning brought on by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

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C. G. Atlantic made a presentation of devices on Monday April 19th, 2021, at the Centreville Primary School. The devices will be distributed to Centerville Primary, Centre for the Deaf, Erin Gilmore School for the Blind and Palmdale Primary.

On Thursday April 22nd, 2021, The Ministry of Education hosted its 23rd National Debate Championship Finals under the topic: "Be It Resolved That The Government Alone Should Have The Right To Make Decisions For The Bahamas During a Pandemic". Debate team finalists included St. Augustine's College, C. I. Gibson Sr., and Kingsway Academy. Each team strongly presented their cases in the three-way final, and at the end of it all St. Augustine's College emerged as the 2020- 2021 Champions. Second place was C. I. Gibson Sr., and third was Kingsway Academy.

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