(CNS): The revamped version of the 2009 Education Bill will be coming to the Legislative Assembly in September, paving the way for the existence of many different types of schools but it will not allow complete privatization of government-managed schools. The new law, when it is passed, will enshrine much of the current national education policy in law and establish a formal inspection regime.
Formally banning corporal punishment and legislating the National Curriculum, the law also allows for schools to partner with private sector entities, though establishing charter or academy schools is not possible within the parameters of this law.
The draft Education Bill, 2015 is based on the legislation passed during the previous PPM administration in 2009, which was never implemented, but has been slightly “tweaked”, Ministry Counsellor Winston Connolly said at a press briefing to launch the public consultation to ensure it is up to date and meets the needs of the country’s developing education system. Following the decision by the previous education minister, Rolston Anglin, not to enact the law, education continues to be governed by the 1983 legislation.
Education Minister Tara Rivers said the new bill, for the first time, calls for the teaching of local history and culture in all government schools and encourages the private sector to include it on their curriculum.
But the main objective is to push the local education system towards international best practice, while legislating for issues such as special educational needs, conflict resolution and crime reduction, technical and vocation training and private-public partnerships in schools.
The details of how the modern education system will work will be in the regulations, however, which will come to the Legislative Assembly with the bill, Rivers said. In the meantime, the ministry has launched a public consultation process and is inviting comments and contributions on the proposed final version of the law before it goes before legislators.