NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION

1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Supplementary private tutoring 

 

  1. Terminology

The Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), which governs all education levels from early childhood to tertiary level, distinguishes between ‘public schools,’ ‘independent schools,’ ‘assisted schools,’ and ‘exempt school’ as types of educational institutions. An ‘independent school’ is defined as any school where full-time education is provided for five or more pupils, but it is not maintained by the Minister.

 

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

Most education in primary (five years, beginning at ages 5) and secondary (four years, beginning at age 11) is provided by government-funded schools. Compulsory education covers primary and secondary education (ages five – 16). Alternative schools are public institutions that provide education for at-risk students between the ages of 11 and 16. These institutions are divided into same-sex institutions and follow a similar mainstream curriculum and special behaviour interventions and rehabilitation programs.

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.
 

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Independent schools are owned, managed, and financed by private actors and can be organized as non-profit schools, religious schools, or business-oriented educational institutions. Private schools are allowed to establish and follow their own curricula and are required to register to operate in the Bahamas. In 2018, private education enrollment represented 22.7% in primary education, 29.8% in lower secondary education and 26.9% in upper secondary education.

Exempt Schools are owned and managed by the Roman Catholic Diocesan Schools, St. Andrew’s School, The Baptist Hight School, and The Seventh Day Adventist School. The Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), specifies that these schools enjoy autonomy and independence, do not require to follow the registration process at the MoE, and are not under the MoE mandate

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Grant-in-Aid schools are non-profit independent schools in areas with low public provision. To be considered eligible to receive aid, schools are required to adhere to the conditions set in  The Education (Grant-In-Aid)) Regulations, and the Education Act. The funding received is subject to MOE regulations and specifications on how it has to be used.  These schools are allowed to charge tuition fees and modify them with prior approval from the MOE.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools

Homeschooling

Homeschool is a legal and regulated education practice in the Bahamas. According to the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), he parent and/or legal guardian's duty is to sure that every child of the compulsory school receives full-time education suitable to age, ability, and aptitude by regular attendance at school. According to the Ministry, homeschooling can be included in the term "otherwise." Parents or legal representatives must register their child in the MoE Homeschool Unit to obtain the Home School Certificate and the Student Identification Card. The Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996) provides the opportunity for homeschool students to access the national examination and National High School Diploma and academic support with the curriculum and eligibility to participate in national competitions. Homeschooling was already regulated practice in the Bahamas; however, during COVID-19, the MoE divulged additional information for parents who elected homeschool for their children during the pandemic.

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

 NAECOB publishes a list of recognized institutions that can operate at primary, secondary and post-secondary education levels and offer training at all levels. According to the website “Institutions that are NOT listed, but are offering programmes in The Bahamas, are not registered or recognized by NAECOB”.

 

  1. Governance and regulations

The Bahamas educational system is under the Ministry of Education's responsibility (MOE) and the National Advisory Council for Education. The MOE and dependent branches are responsible for the overall education policy in pre-primary, primary, secondary, and further education and registration and setting the standards of buildings and mobility of independent schools.  The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council is responsible for recognizing and accrediting educational institutions for primary, secondary, and higher education. The Pre-school and Day-Care Council responsibilities are to register, regulate, inspect, govern and issue licenses.

At a local level, the District Superintendents are responsible for each of the fourteen education districts in The Bahamas.

Vision: Vision 2030: A Shared Vision for Education in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas includes the pursuit of strengthening partnerships with suitable policies and practices design to encourage and engage in collaborations with the community, churches, and other education-oriented NGO and describes the government's intention to increase universal access both by public and private ECCE institutions, including granting vouchers to families enrolling in private preschools approved by the government.
 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
 

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) in The Bahamas is divided into day-care and preschool centres.  In 2018 enrolment in private ECCE centers represented 53.5% in pre-primary and 53.3% in childhood education programs.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: According to the Early Childhood Care Regulations (2015), all non-state day-care facilities and pre-school centres must apply for approval and registration at the Pre-school and Day-Care Council. Approval is granted based on fulfilling the minimum requirements, including staff qualification, financial statements, and infrastructure requirements. Every application must include an emergency, medical, and disaster plan approved by the Ministry of Health, a sanitation certificate issued by the Department of Environmental Health Services, and the registration fee payment.

Licence: If the applicant has fulfilled all the necessary operation criteria, the Pre-school and Day-Care Council issues a certificate valid for one year subject to yearly renewal and due fee payment. 

Financial operation

Profit-making: The government allows for non-profit, faith-based, and business (for-profit) to establish and operate ECCE facilities.

Taxes and subsidies: According to the  Value Added Tax Act (2014) and the Value Added Tax Regulations (2014), pre-primary institutions and childcare businesses, including after-school care, are exempt from the Value Added Tax. The Universal Pre-Primary Education Initiative intends to increase preschool education access in the Bahamas by providing a voucher to families for their children to attend preschool institutions, including the possibility of attending registered private preschools. The Education Grant-in-Aid Regulations (1992) set the conditions governing education grants to non-state schools such as pupil/teacher ratios, the maximum number of untrained teachers and it requires compliance with a minimum of open days or academic sessions for each academic year.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: According to the Early Childhood Care Regulations (2015), ECCE centres must ensure age-appropriate learning materials and curriculum previously approved by the MoE.

Teaching profession: According to the Regulations and Management of Day-Care Centers and Pre-Schools, all ECCE centre personnel must be trained in early childhood, possess a basic first aid certification, and are subject to annual medical checks for good health. The 2004 Early Childhood Act specifies that all staff must have a valid police record and cannot have any judiciary conviction related to violence, sexual abuse, or any other action against this Act.  

Sanctions on centre/school closures: When the founder of an ECCE facility is convicted of a criminal offence or the facility is not complying with the license requirements, the Council has the authority to suspend or revoke the certificate of registration. If any centre is operating without registration, it is liable to conviction of a monetary penalty. 

Equitable access

Fee-setting: No information was found.

Admission selection and processes: No information was found.

Policies for vulnerable groups: Under the Universal Pre-Primary Education initiative tuition grant program, the Government covers the payment of tuition and mandatory course-related fees to certain students in approved private preschool institutions.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: No information was found.

School inspection: ECCE centers may be subject to inspection to determine whether the day center or pre-schools operate according to the Law and approval conditions.

Child assessments: No information was found.
 

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: According to the 1962 Education Act (as amended in 1996), to operate in the Bahamas, non-state educational institutions must have a valid license under the 2010 Business License Act  or the 2019 Non-Profit Organization Act according to their legal ownership and be registered at the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB). The latter is a statutory body established under the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council Act of The Bahamas on 4th October 2006; assented on the 29th of December, 2006 and came into force on the 28th of February, 2007.  NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools and any institution or provider that offers training in the Bahamas. More generally, providers, which can be individuals, business corporations, non-profit organizations, religious organizations, limited liability partnership companies or limited partnerships, must apply for registration at NAECOB within three months from obtaining the license. Applications must include the educational programmes, evaluation process, admission policies, academic staff, and the projection plan of their physical and financial growth. Approval is granted based on the application and a site visit by NAECOB to ensure the fulfilment of the registration criteria. The registration process has a cost associated depending on the providers' ownership if it is a national or international provider.

Licence: Registered institutions must pay an annual fee in order to sustain their registered status. Annual fees are based on each institution's student enrolment.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): No information was found.

Financial operation

Profit-making:

The NAECOB Application for Registration of Primary & Secondary Institutions 2020 lists among the potential school’s owners non-profit, faith-based, and business (for-profit) providers.  However, according to the 1962 Education Act (as amended in 1996), educational institutions which receive state assistance, by grants or otherwise, must not be established or maintained for private profit.

Taxes and subsidies: Non-profit independent schools are eligible to apply for government aid when complying with the regulations enacted in the 1962 Education Act (as amended in 1996) and the Education Grant-in-Aid Regulations (1992).  According to the 2010 Business License Act, licenses issued to ecclesiastical, charitable, or cultural institutions are exempt from paying the annual license tax. Independent primary and secondary schools registered with the MOE, the Department of Social Services, or the Public Hospital Authority are exempt from the Value Added Tax according to the Value Added Tax Act (2014) and the Value Added Tax Regulations (2014).

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: The Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996) sets that independent schools can  and determine the school's secular or religious instruction.  create and implement their own curricula and determine the school's secular or religious instruction. 

Textbooks and learning materials: No information was found.

Teaching profession: According to the Education Act 1962 (as amended in 1996), independent schools are allowed to set the terms of appointment, conditions of service, and teachers' dismissal. Teachers convicted of any violence, abuse, or crime that conflicts with the Education Act cannot be employed at a school. According to the Education Act, for an educational institution to receive financial support from the state, the teaching staff shall be adequate in number, qualifications, and experience regarding pupils' numbers, ages, and sex, and the school's curriculum. Teachers working at grant-in-aid schools cannot be employed during regular school hours in any other school or institution without the MOE's approval.

Corporal punishment:  No information was found on the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996) regarding banning corporal punishment in a school setting. However, the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996) prohibits any teacher previously convicted for violence or abuse from being employed in independent school institutions. Furthermore, any abuse or misconduct must be informed to the government.  

Other safety measures and COVID-19: During 2020 the MOE closed face-to-face learning and transitioned to remote learning. Intents have been done to re-open schools, and protocols have been drafted.  

Equitable access

Admission selection and processes: Schools can develop their enrolment and promotion procedures, which need to be detailed and submitted at the moment of registration.

Fee-setting: No information was found. However, in the Application for Registration of Primary and Secondary Institutions, providers are requested to submit information regarding fees structure and governing policies on tuitions and fees. Grant-in-Aid schools must request authorization from the MOE in order to increase their tuition fees.  

Policies for vulnerable groups: No information was found.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School management/board: According to the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), maintained schools must be governed by a Board in which the state must allocate two government officials as members.

Reporting requirements: All registered Institutions must provide NAECOB during July each year with an annual report of their institutional performance. The annual report must include evidence-based data and information concerning programme and institutional data, organizational activities and financial performance from the preceding year. The report has six (6) parts: General Information, Programme Details, Institutional Statistics, Staff, Governance and Signature and should include particulars of any approved changes in the Institution since its registration.

School inspection: Based on the Education Grant in-Aid Regulations, the MoE can perform inspection into assisted and/or registered independent schools given advance noticing to the institutions.

Student assessments: National examinations are administered to students in all educational institutions at four stages: Grade Level Assessment Tests (GLAT) are administered at the end of grades 3 and 6; the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) at the end of grade 9 and the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) as an exit exam, generally taken at the end of grade 12. 

Diplomas and degrees: According to the NAECOB each institution that applies for registration at the MoE, must include in their application each award's samples and the graduation requirements policies and procedures.

Sanctions: According to its legal organization, educational institutions that fail to comply with the regulations or obligations for approval will have their authorization revoked or suspended 2010 Business License Act or the 2019 Non-Profit Organization Act. The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB), may provide an institution with one of the five sanctions - warning, probation, deregistration, suspension, or revocation when an institution fails to comply with the criteria for registration.
 

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: An individual or legal person (national or international), non-profit organization, business corporation, religious institutions or partnership company can establish a higher education institution in the Bahamas, if they have the legal structure, if they have the legal structure specified either under the Business Licence Act (2010) or Non-Profit Organization Act (2019) and be registered at the National Accreditation Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB) - an entity under the Ministry of Education (MOE).  The Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996) set that for registration at the NAECOB, applications must include their respective information regarding their admission process, tuition fee, learning resources, staff qualifications, financial information, and description of the physical resources. Approval is granted based on the documentation provided and a site visit to ensure conformity with the registration criteria. International institutions of post-secondary education with an accredited status granted by an internationally recognized accreditation body must only apply for Institutional Recognition

Licence:  No information was found.

Financial operation

Profit-making: The government allows for non-profit, faith-based, and business (for-profit) providers to operate schools.  

Taxes and subsidies: According to the Value Added Tax Act (2014) and the Value Added Tax Regulations (2014), institutions of higher education are exempt from paying the Value Added Tax. 

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: According to the  Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions (2021), at the moment of registration all institutions must have clearly defined objectives, evidence-based content, and academic rigour in the educational programmes offerings that are congruent with the institution’s mission, vision and goals. Educational programme standards are reviewed under the following sub-standards: (i) Programme Mission, Vision and Goals, (ii) Programme Governance and Administration, (iii) Academic Programme Resources and Support, (iv) Programme Effectiveness, and (v) Quality Assurance and Enhancement.

Teaching profession: According to the Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions, all academic, administrative and support staff must comply with the required qualifications and experience appropriate for their tasks. During the institution’s annual report, institutions must include all new faculty/instructional staff hires or faculty who would have obtained additional academic qualifications since the last annual report (Annual Report Post-Secondary, 2021).

Equitable access

Fee-setting: According to the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), further education courses at non-state institutions must set their tuition of an appropriate standard by fully qualified instructors. The information regarding their structure and policies regarding tuition and fees on the Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions.

Admission selection and processes: Institutions are allowed to set their admission policies. In the registration process, providers must submit the procedures and requirements of student admissions and any placement examination or application form they use.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Management/board: Institutions must include a Chief Administrative Officer and a Board for the intuition governance structure within their organizational structure (Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions 2021).

Reporting requirements: All registered institutions must provide NAECOB during July each year with an annual report of their institutional performance. The annual report must include evidence-based data and information concerning programme and institutional data, organizational activities and financial performance from the preceding year. The report has six (6) parts: General Information, Programme Details, Institutional Statistics, Staff, Governance and Signature and should include particulars of any approved changes in the Institution since its registration.

Inspections: During the registration process, the National Accreditation Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB) will schedule a suitable time for the Registration Evaluation Team to conduct a site visit of the institution/provider to determine the extent to which the Institution/Provider conforms with the registration criteria. (Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions 2021)

Student assessments: No information was found.

Diplomas and degrees: No information in the Law was found regarding the issuance of diplomas and degrees. On the Application for Registration of Post-Secondary Institutions, providers must include the sample of each award received by a student completing each educational level. 

Sanctions: According to the Education Act (1962 as amended in 1996), when an institution fails to comply with short-coming pointed by the minister or fails to amend them, the state may revoke or suspend its authorization.

 

3.2 Supplementary private tutoring

Entry/Establishment

To establish a supplementary private tutoring program, providers must apply to The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council through the Program Accreditation Application. All applications must include information regarding their governance and program structure, information on their staff members, accompanied by the respective valid business license.

Financial operation and quality

No information was found.

Teaching profession

The application form must include information regarding all the staff members, their credentials, and qualifications. According to the Handbook for Teachers in Bahamian public Schools (2019) public officers are prohibited from engaging either directly or indirectly in private professional practice. Exceptions may be made to this prohibition in special circumstances. However, prior written approval must be obtained from the Department of Public Service through the Ministry of Education. 

Última modificación:

Vie, 19/11/2021 - 12:25