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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000


I am saying so because I have with me a document from one of the islands. They were trying to put the school boards in the educational reform process and they had some difficulty. I am not saying that this is the answer, or you copy this at all, I do not know what model you are using, but I noted in that island that the denominational school boards remained, because they wanted to look after their schools in terms of religion, in terms of recommending teachers, their staffing. But the government recognized that they were all public schools and, therefore, the Government put school boards in all those schools.

What they did after some consultation was to put the majority on the board belonging to the particular religion. So if it was a Roman Catholic school there were a number of Roman Catholics who formed part of the board. I am not saying that I like or dislike it, I am just saying that the concept was that they serviced all the public schools in that way.

The denominational schools still had their major boards looking after religious education in the schools, recommendation for staffing and whatever it was, but there was no discrimination in terms of government schools being treated this way, denominational schools, “You are on your own to set up your own system.” I am just looking at it from that point of view. It struck me that way, whether or not we should have been implementing boards in this way.

I am open for this kind of discussion and your comments. That is one of the things that I noted and it really bothered me. What is the solution? How do you go around it? We could probably look at that later, but it really bothered me that somewhere along the line we are using public funds and we are projecting it into certain schools only. I have never seen it done before. In fact, there are certain things in here that I have not seen done before, but I would look at them. That is one of the things that I really wanted to look at.

Mr. President, I have before me here the Education Act from another island and I went through it thoroughly and I saw, as I said before, the school board, all schools and how they tried to get around it. Probably, we would have to do something else. Not that I am saying one board for each school. In fact, in this case too, they did not even go one board per school. In some cases where the schools were small, they had one board for a number of schools, instead of one board per school. Those are the little differences that people have according to their places. We could probably look at that.

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