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**Driving Education Reform: Rabain Emphasizes Budget Impact**

Updated: Feb 23, 2024 07:54 AM

In a positive development, Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education (Photograph by Alva Solomon), has announced that the Ministry of Education is committed to advancing public-school reform this year. An investment of $5.6 million will kickstart the construction of two new parish primary schools and the enhancement of two existing facilities.

Initiated in 2022, the revamp of the education system will lead to the elimination of middle schools and the establishment of signature schools, alongside the introduction of a singular primary school in each parish.

During a Budget press conference held yesterday, Minister Diallo Rabain emphasized the ministry’s vision and strategic actions aimed at enhancing the island’s educational landscape.

Highlighting a budget allocation increase to \(142.6 million for the ministry in the current fiscal year, representing a \)2.7 million rise from the previous year, he underscored the significance of this increment as a testament to their belief in the transformative influence of education and their dedication to fortifying the education system.

Despite having spent \(145.4 million in the previous year, nearly \)3 million more than the planned expenditure for the current year, Mr. Rabain reiterated the government’s steadfast commitment to realizing their aspirations and laying the groundwork for a brighter future for the youth.

The major portion of the ministry’s \(142.6 million budget – amounting to \)117.5 million – is designated for the Department of Education. This funding will support various educational initiatives and services, including the staffing requirements of all schools, ensuring equitable access to comprehensive, culturally relevant education that empowers students to maximize their potential.

Regarding the $5.6 million allocated for capital development projects in education reform, Minister Rabain stressed that this transformation goes beyond mere structural changes; it aims to cultivate a nurturing environment tailored to meet the diverse needs and talents of students.

As efforts continue to upgrade Francis Patton in Hamilton Parish and Purvis Primary in Warwick into parish schools, funds have been earmarked for the commencement of foundational work on two additional parish primary schools in Smith’s and Devonshire.

Furthermore, the Department of Libraries and Archives has secured $3.2 million, a portion of which will support the establishment of a new website and a digital repository. These initiatives will enhance records management, facilitate the digitization of significant historical records, and enrich Bermuda’s cultural and educational heritage.

In a bid to promote male participation in the teaching profession, three awards of \(7,500 each will be disbursed to support men in teaching practicums. Additionally, over \)2 million will be allocated for scholarships, including $30,000 dedicated to students attending the University of the West Indies.

The annual grant to the Bermuda College will be maintained at $14.6 million, with ongoing efforts to expand articulation agreements with higher education institutions in Britain and North America. These collaborations, alongside partnerships, grants, and dual-enrollment programs, aim to equip students for leadership roles and further educational pursuits.

As the ministry embarks on the fourth year of education reform, Minister Rabain reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to establishing an inclusive, quality-driven, and lifelong education system. Recognizing the collective efforts of staff, community members, and stakeholders in laying a strong foundation for a 21st-century learning environment in Bermuda’s public-school system, he invited all stakeholders to join hands in this transformative journey towards a bright, limitless, and distinctly Bermudian future for the children.