“The education of African people is of an utter necessity. It is a matter of life and death. We cannot abide another generation of children who have no identity and who are ignorant about Africa.” Hilliard

Most of the officers who were responsible for curriculum development in the schools, appointed to the Ministry of Education, lacked the necessary competencies, skills, abilities, qualifications, experience, exposure and expertise in accordance with international standards. It appears that many of the appointments reeked with cronyism, nepotism, favoritism and even personal vendettas. Often, incompetency and mediocrity were rewarded. Bermuda is the only jurisdiction that I know which hires people with a Master’s degree to work in Central Office.

CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER

In October 1977, I returned to Bermuda to do my research study for my dissertation. The Chief Education Officer, Mr. Sinclair Richards, handed me a letter stating that he understands from reliable sources that I stated on a local television station that I was going to work in the Ministry of Education when I completed the doctorate. That was so unprofessional and so far from the truth. I did say, “Bermuda is my country and I do want to serve my country.”

Shortly after this incident, in October 1977, two positions for Education Officers with expertise in curriculum development were advertised.

On April 1, 1978, a Reading Teacher was appointed as the Education Officer responsible for curriculum in the Bermuda Education System. I was returning to Bermuda in September 1978 as Bermuda’s first international qualified curriculum coordinator.

EDUCATION OFFICER – SOCIAL STUDIES

On November 10, 1997, I applied for the job of Education Officer for Social Studies in the Ministry of Education.

Page 88 of my book, “Let Justice Flow-A Black Woman’s Struggle for Equality in Bermuda” states:

“Once again, in spite of my competencies, skills, capabilities, commitment, exposure and expertise, I was over looked for a younger male, Mr. Llewellyn Simmons, (now Dr. Llewellyn Simmons – Director of Academics), who did not take up the post immediately after being appointed in March 1998 because he was abroad completing doctoral studies.

In the meantime, I understand that a former Education Officer with a Master’s degree in History is being used as a “fill in”. Not that I expected to be chosen, but the decision of the Public Service Commission substantiates my argument that regardless of how qualified a person is, if you are not the favourite of the Permanent Secretary, you will not be appointed to any position. What was most insulting, however, was being interviewed by the Senior Officer for Curriculum, Instruction and Evaluation, who I remember as being a guidance counselor. She has a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and she is responsible for the development of curriculum for the system. Is it any wonder that when the auditors came to evaluate the system, not only did they give the system a failing grade, but the area with the most dismal and depressing results was curriculum? It is interesting to note that many unqualified persons are in high-salaried, top-level positions without the needed minimum skills and competencies to perform in an effective manner within the system.”

By Dr Muriel Wade Smith

Muriel M. Wade-Smith,
Ph.D., attended Central School, now Victor F. Scott Primary School, and the Berkeley Institute. She obtained her teacher training certificates from Ottawa Teachers’ College and Toronto Teachers’ College in Ontario, Canada, and has been involved in various educational projects in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.

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