Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd used a parenting forum to issue a public thank you to Commonwealth Bank for its “extraordinary” support to education and to tell parents that the role they play in their child’s education cannot be overstated.
The education minister was speaking at the 9th Annual Parenting Forum on August 25, held for the first time this year at William Johnson Auditorium on Joe Farrington Road, a late and unavoidable change of location from the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gymnasium where the event normally draws a crowd of hundreds.
While numbers were small, Lloyd’s message and that of other speakers, including Commonwealth Bank’s vice president of internal audit and credit Davine Dawkins-Rolle, was loud and powerful – Parents Matter.
“If you want to see a child succeed, sometimes against all odds and with sacrificial needs, you see a parent involved,” Lloyd said. “We get $300 million at the Ministry of Education every year to drive education but at the end of the day, parents, it’s you. Your role is so crucial and critical and indispensable that it cannot be denied. It cannot be altered or shared or assigned.”
“That shared responsibility between parents, educators and the community”, he said, “lies at the heart of enabling individual growth and development.”
“This task is not the sole responsibility of the education system, but one which demands the earnest commitment and participation of us all,” said Lloyd, commending Commonwealth Bank for the lead it has taken in support of education.
“Over the last decade, Commonwealth Bank has donated more than $1.1 million to education,” said the minister. “This is the kind of partnership we celebrate and honour. They have given 10,000 backpacks with school supplies annually, they have provided scholarships, last year they placed $50,000 in our care and trusted us to apply it to the best possible use which we will this year with new technology for younger students to ensure a strong start. They did all this without our asking for it, soliciting it or enlisting their support. They did it just coming forward because they believe in the value of education, they understand. We are extraordinarily grateful to Commonwealth Bank and to all our partners who contribute to education.”
Against a backdrop of celebration of the new school year, the annual event sponsored by the New Providence Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools and Ministry of Education featured performances by school troops and the Royal Bahamas Police Force Pop Band.
But it was the down-to-earth talk about parenting that most touched the audience. “Parenting,” said the education minister, father of five daughters and grandfather of six, “is the hardest job on God’s green earth.”
Commonwealth Bank VP Dawkins-Rolle reinforced the importance of parental involvement.
“Like many of you in this church auditorium today, I did not grow up rich, but, like you who are here with a parent, I was fortunate because I had a parent who cared enough to be by my side whether in school, on a playing field or when my first boyfriend broke up with me and my world fell apart.”
In and out of the classroom, it is parental engagement that helps create the successful, productive citizen.
“The more we learn about how students learn and what leads to success, the more we come back to parenting. Schools with the highest success rate, including lowest drop-out rates and greatest percentage of students who go on to college, are those where parents are involved in their offspring’s education. That means getting to know your son or daughter’s teachers, knowing what your child is working on every day. That means helping – not doing – helping with a science project or discussing an idea for an essay.
“That also means making it possible for your son or daughter to play in the band or participate in sports and after school activities. There will be times when you, the parent, have to say ‘No’ because Johnny has to walk his little brother home and watch him while you are at work late, but please do your best to make sure that student’s lives are about education and the excitement that being in a learning environment can generate when it is applauded at home, rather than resented.”
“Stay connected with your son or daughter”, she urged.
“Education is not just about what happens in the classroom. It is how Johnny and Joeisha grow into confident, well-adjusted adults.”
Commonwealth Bank is the nation’s leading Bahamian bank with $1.6 billion in total assets, more than 600 staff members and branches in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera.