The National News page in the Nassau Guardian of February 8, 2017 has a news story where the Minister of Education dismisses the effectiveness of single gender classrooms, even opining that, “This old, outdated thing about separating doesn’t work. There is no research to show that it works now”. My first question is, “What has the minister been reading?” and the second, ”What does he know about education?” I would like to say that the word “nothing” answers both questions, but I digress. It was ironic that the article concluded with results of an analysis done by the American Psychological Association which showed that the educational aspirations among Girls were not higher than Boys when they were in the same classrooms. (The article referred to same sex classroom, but I choose to use the “same classroom” description). The article also stated that “there is no evidence of an advantage for same same-sex schooling for U.S. ethnic minorities”. Hopefully the minister reads the full content of the article by Jayme C. Pinder, because it does not really support his view. I draw reference to the last quote in the hope that the minister realizes that the Bahamian male is not an ethnic minority even though some politicians tend to treat them as such.
It is apparent that the current Minister of Education is not an educator, he may know something about education, but the responsibility he now has is far above his pay grade. The young Bahamian male is in a crisis situation and he is in need of an educational environment that is targeted and specific. It is not enough that a largely female teaching population be able to “differentiate” in their teaching when it comes to “same-sex” classrooms; the distinctions go much deeper and if we are to make a dent in the negative perceptions that many of our young males have we are going to have to get serious, if only in the classroom. Female teachers do not have many problems with teaching males who are prepared and ready to learn and if the Minister of Education is really doing his job and looking at what is happening in education with our young males he would see that the problems undergirding this issue must be addressed.
Seeing that he used the opportunity to take a shot at another male, Dr.Hubert Minnis, who is more informed than he is and who would also like to be Prime Minister, I would like to go on record as saying that looking at the track records of both men, and what has been coming out of their mouths, it is Minnis who is more informed on the issues that affect this nation. This is something that Mr.Fitzgerald should keep in mind if he has similar aspirations, and, if those aspirations have any hope of fulfilment he is going to have to do some serious adjustments in his mind regarding what Bahamians think about when he opens his mouth inside or outside of the House of Assembly.
February 8, 2017