A look into Political influence on education: History of education in the Bahamas Part V

In one of my earlier posts, history of tutoring, I talked about how the British government did not get involved with education until 1833. This meant that the colonies would be affected simultaneously because the Governors who were assigned to each colony was in charge of ensuring that the wishes of the Crown were carried out.

Now, this did not necessarily mean that the Crown, and subsequently its host of royal Governors, somehow understood their populace and wanted to help them because the common man at the time had no need or interest in pursuing education.

At all.

Therefore, the real reason the Crown heavily advanced education was because they saw a need for more trained skilled workers to build housing, buildings, and bridges throughout Great Britain. But in order to do that, they needed a large workforce, most of whom were uneducated. Hence, the drive to make education available and accessible to the majority, who were poor subsistence farmers and the only things that they were educated on was arithmetic, writing and reading.

But what did that mean for The Bahamas?

Well first, let’s talk about the establishment of the local Bahamian government (otherwise known as the House of Assembly) and it’s really…tumultuous relationship with the Crown.

Who is the House of Assembly?

The House of Assembly (previously known as the General Assembly) is a local governing body of a commonwealth country that consists of elected Members of Parliament (of which the citizens of the country votes upon). In The Bahamas, the House of Assembly currently consists of 39 seats with each seat representing a constituency in the country.

It was first established in 1729 because King George II and the Commission had specifically instructed Governor Woods Rodgers to do so as the newly appointed Governor of The Bahamas. Actually, this would be the second time that Woods Rodgers became the governor because his first time governing over the country left him broke, sick and emotionally depleted (he ended up using all of his finances to try to improve the dire state of the Bahamas, only to be met with backlash from the locals and having to run back to England to claim bankruptcy).

Upon his return, he separated The Bahamas (which was only Nassau, Harbor Island and Eleuthera at the time) into 5 districts and fixed the number of Members of Parliament to 24. The eligible citizens then took two weeks and voted for their preferred Members of Parliament and the newly formed General Assembly met for the first time at one of the elected member’s house on September 29, 1729. Almost immediately, a fight broke out between the House of Assembly and Governor Rogers and suffice it to say, this power struggle lasted for more than a year until Governor Rogers decided to dissolve the Assembly in December 1730.

From then on, the duration and sustainability of the General Assembly relied solely on the wishes of the Governors. Additionally, the struggles between the Governor and the elected House of Assembly lasted until the country received independence from the British Government in 1973.

So did this fierce political friction affect education?

Actually initially, there wasn’t any friction between the Governors and the House of Assembly when it came to education of the poor. As a matter of fact, by the early 1820s, the government became strong advocates for education as they worked together along with the church to try to bring free education to the poor.

However, it’s important to note that those who were elected into the General Assembly were rich, white merchants. Some of them owned plantations for themselves throughout the colony. So, of course, there wasn’t any problem with educating the poor…as long as they were white. This meant that when governors started to show sympathy and advocated for equal educational rights for the black population, the white slave owners became agitated

And you can only imagine the power struggle between the Governors and the House of Assembly when it came to education of slaves and freed black men.

Sir James Charmichael Smyth

For example, Governor Sir James Charmichael-Smyth (Governor of the Bahamas from 1829-1833), once warmly welcomed by the whites in Bahamian society, was automatically rejected and hated once it was made known that he was a fierce advocate for the abolition of slavery and the advancement of freed colored people. Also, his stance was so strong that he created two schools in both Adelaide and Charmiachel settlements because they were considered experimental settlements for liberated Africans.

Now it is important to note that during this period, there was a rising amount of free blacks and liberated Africans arriving in the colony, which further fueled animosity between the House of Assembly and Governor Charmichael-Smyth as the House of Assembly (remember they are majority slave owners) wanted to maintain dominance over the growing black population.

Eventually, the House of Assembly caved in and established a Board of Education in 1836, which was shortly after the emancipation of slavery but it was a long way and a hard fight to get there. And because the House of Assembly felt forced to accept emancipation, it reinforced the idea that schools needed to be segregated, which became a law 19 years before emancipation.

What about today?

In 1823, the government reduced expenses towards education (including salary reduction of teachers and headmasters, and funding) and also reduced the number of schools in the colony because those they were trying to help, which would have been the poor whites, were not taking education seriously (there were serious rates of drop-outs and absences, among other issues).

Blacks, who probably were the main ones to want education, were never taken into account in those plans and was only thought of us manual laborers who were “beneath” the whites by the Government.

Today, education of the black population still remains on the back burner by the local government and this is unfathomable because we are led by a majority black government and we STILL see the inequalities surfacing such as

  1. funding to public education continues to be cut every fiscal year (and more money is dumped into tourism, fueling a dependent economy)
  2. the current curriculum is completely outdated and needs to be revised
  3. The national exam, the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), is an inaccurate measure of a student’s mental acuity because of inconsistencies of its grading system
  4. the rise of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism, just to name a few, are COMPLETELY IGNORED
  5. the problems of overcrowding in public schools have yet to be addressed, which leads to the issue of proper tutelage between teacher and students.

These issues must be examined and addressed in order to improve as a country, otherwise, we are just perpetuating the wishes of our late colonial slave masters: for the black population to remain low-class laborers.

I then leave you with this quote by Robert Kiyosaki that completely resonated with me:

Do you think the Government could do more in the advancement of education in the Bahamas (or whatever country you are from)? Are they doing enough? do you see any progress? Please leave your comments, suggestions, and critiques in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Slavery Education and inequality-History of education in the Bahamas part III

I know. Sometimes the topic seems to be rehashed way too many times but its impact had been so severe to our black ancestors that the effects of it have known to have been passed down through generations and that cannot be ignored.

This is because when you are considered one-tenth of a human (no more than animal cattle), you are stripped of any and all basic human rights, which meant that when those rights do become accessible to you, you’d want your children, and your children’s children to take advantage of it fully, even when you don’t fully understand what to do with it.

This was very evident within Bahamians’ drive towards education.

Abolition of physical labor but continuation of mental slavery

Abolition of physical labor but continuation of mental slavery Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1336106

The woes of Slavery

A slave was forbidden to be educated because plantation owners and merchants feared slave uprisings. Therefore, if the slave master learned that one of his slaves could read, usually that slave was severely punished.

Luckily, when slavery was abolished in the Bahamas in 1838, the British crown finally considered the black population as equals in the crown. So they thought that it was imperative that the “freed negros” were given education in order to properly assimilate into society.

The plantation owners, on the other hand, thought that teaching their ‘property’ subjects such as math and English was completely unnecessary but they did agree that freed slaves would be a danger to them unless they trained them ‘to be freedmen and women’ in society, which formed the basis for apprenticeship programs. Within these apprenticeship programs, the freed slaves were supposedly given “mental,” “moral,” and “spiritual equipment” to integrate into society.

The non-conformist missionary groups and abolitionists hated this idea. They just considered it another form of slavery. Nevertheless, the apprenticeship program ended in 1840 with slaves still uneducated and unequipped to properly assimilate into society as equals.

Yay! We can finally learn how to be successful as our white masters…but not so fast

Eventually, two free public schools were opened on New Providence for the newly liberated slaves but this caused problems of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Additionally, because these schools were only located on New Providence, the liberated slaves on the out Islands were severely neglected for years. For example, the first school in Grand Bahama did not appear until 1908. That’s a whole 70 years after slavery was abolished and education was allowed to freed slaves.

Moreover, the British Crown gave 25,000 pounds to the Board of education in 1835, which resulted in the creation of 29 schools by 1859. However, the total number of teachers at the time was thirty-nine. Yes. You read that correctly. That’s roughly one teacher per school.

To combat this, the Board of Education had to rely solely on the Madara/Dr. Bell/Monitoring system (which I will explain in Part IV of this series) because it was cheaper and more efficient. Sadly, this meant that some were not getting access to quality education, usually, it was the black children.

In other words, most black kids were unable to receive quality education, no matter what. And it still persists today.

We came from far…but we still have a long, long ways to go

Now you might say that private schools are currently more welcoming (so much so that I know of a particular private school handing out athletic scholarships like candy) so access to quality education has broadened. However, these schools are now overcrowded, taking us back to the initial problem at hand.

Think about it. Are your kids actually receiving quality education when the class size can be up to 40 students per teacher? It doesn’t matter how qualified the teacher is or how good they are at teaching or how much money you are paying in school fees. How can one person effectively split their attention in 40 different ways when each child has different learning capabilities?

OK. Let’s put this into perspective. When Government High first opened in 1925, there were only 5 students in the class. This meant that each student was getting the attention that they needed to effectively succeed. Additionally, it was much easier to identify the slower learner and when they did, the student was refused to advance to the next level until they were up to par with their work.

It’s not possible for this to happen in a class of 30-40 students. In fact, there are way too many students that slip through the cracks and advance to the next level despite their struggles with understanding foundational topics.

Then by the time they arrive at grade 12, it’s already too late. This means that teachers will start recommending these students to complete the core BGCSE paper rather than the extended paper (which is silly as I explained in part I of this series) because the students are not able to handle an extended paper and this leads to a very dismal grade average.

Our educational system is perpetually failing us

Most black Bahamian parents have ignored this fact entirely and deemed it absolutely imperative that their child not only graduate from a private secondary institution, but they attend a tertiary educational institution as well, despite the fact that most Bahamian students these days:

  1. have no firm foundation on core subjects such as math and English (which can be blamed on a variety of factors such as overcrowding, poor teaching methods, too advance of a curriculum, parents not giving them any homework attention…etc),
  2. have no idea what career they will choose since they are limited in their options (most black parents push their child to become a doctor, lawyer or an accountant, which is uninteresting to most) and
  3. lack the motivation to complete these degrees (because there is little to no options to choose from in the Bahamian job market).

It also doesn’t help that the little jobs that are available are requiring higher degrees for little pay and rejecting applicants for being, “overqualified.” This perpetual cycle is dooming our society and our economy. The problem here is that the cycle was put in place by a white majority government to ensure the masses were kept illiterate and dependent upon them and yet it exists when the Bahamas is a majority-black nation that is run by a majority Black government (most of whom actually had access to quality education which will be further explained in part V of this series).

Additionally, teachers have always been blamed for these inadequacies but should they be? Stay tuned as I give my take on this issue in part IV of this series.

Until then, I’d like to hear from you guys. Do you think slavery has had a serious impact on how Bahamians are educated today? Why or why not? Please let me know what you think in the comment section below.

The church’s influence-History of education in the Bahamas Part II

We all know that the church had a monumental impact on society, especially in the earlier centuries. It helped shaped societal customs and social norms, including ideology surrounding slavery, black people, women, etc. In fact, it is well-known that the church not only aided in starting slavery but also in maintaining it. But did you know that the church was an integral part of the abolishment of slavery as well?

Yup! Lookup a group called the Quakers.

In other words, the Church encompasses both well-intentioned good people as well as evil people and sadly, because they both exist within Christianity (or any religion for that matter), it’s hard to separate the evil from the good ones.

In the Bahamas, the idea of separating the two is even more difficult because even though some of the ideologies that the church taught or propagated were negative, and quite frankly, twisted, there are so many visibly tangible contributions of the Church.

One of those greatest contributions to the Bahamas would have had to be in education because, without the persistence of certain individuals within the church, the majority of us would not have the access to education as we do today. Additionally, almost all the major private schools are run by a specific denomination. Let’s take a look.

The Early Missionaries’ need to educate

Education in the Bahamas was always pushed by the Church. In fact, the very first attempt to educate the Bahamian

By Williams, John – https://fleuron.lib.cam.ac.uk/static/ornament_images/073190040000020_1.pngRecord: https://fleuron.lib.cam.ac.uk/ornament/073190040000020_1, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59548795

masses was through a religious group called The Society for Propagation of the Gospel in 1739. They were an Anglican missionary group that was funded by the Church of England.

 

 

They opened and operated a school called the ‘Free School’ which was located in modern-day Fox hill and catered to poor white boys (and, very rarely, a black boy). However, teachers were complaining that they were not getting paid. So to combat this, the 1746 education act made it mandatory for all men, no matter the race, between the ages of 16 and 60, to pay a tax of 1 shilling and 6 pence (which is equivalent to 50 cents) in order to compensate the teachers. Nonetheless, this taxation was short-lived and sadly, the school had to be discontinued.

Eventually, there were also groups of missionaries, who considered themselves non-conformists, that started visiting the Bahamas. They saw the need to educate black children but they were faced with two challenges:

  1. during this time, it was forbidden to teach a slave.
  2. They were only able to teach freed colored men during Sunday school.

This meant that instructional time was restricted to maybe 2 hours per week. Nonetheless, this did not deter them from trying.

These sub-missionary groups were not the only contributors. Entire denominations had helped shaped Bahamian education into what is now known today. However, their contributions can be considered controversial as many of them only catered to a certain aspect of Bahamian society for decades. These denominations include Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, and Roman Catholics.

The Anglican Archdiocese

The Anglican church’s presence can be dated all the way back to 1670. One of the first schools that was established

First Students at Saint Anne’s School

was the Free School (led by the SPG) in 1739. They were then placed in control of the Central school, the first public school of the Bahamas, under the 1821 Education Act. Since then, the Anglican Central Education Authority was established having 4 private schools under its belt:

  1. St John’s College, New Providence, Bahamas: this is the second high school to accept black students and it was established in 1947. It had 7 teachers and 135 students when it first opened.
  2. St Anne College, New Providence, Bahamas: established in 1955 because of a need for a school in the Fox Hill area. The parish hall was turned into 3 classrooms and the number of students that attended school during its first year was 26 with 6 teachers. Eventually, because of an influx of students, classes had to be held in the Churchyard underneath sapodilla and almond trees.
  3. Bishop Michael Eldon School, Freeport, Grand Bahama: it was first named Freeport Highschool but undergone a slight name change to Freeport Anglican Highschool right when it opened in 1965. In 1991, the Discovery Primary School was added to the Freeport Anglican Highschool’s campus and eventually, the name was changed again to Bishop Michael Eldon School.
  4. St Andrews Anglican School, Georgetown, Exuma: it was first established as a preschool in 1983. The Primary department was not established until 1995 and then the middle school followed in 2002.

The Methodist

Many people tend to disregard the fact that there were free black loyalists who relocated to the Bahamas because it is always assumed that anyone who was black was automatically considered a slave. Well, a freed black man, Joseph Paul, was one of the black loyalists who came to the Bahamas and was credited with being the first black man to introduce Methodism in not only black communities but in the entire Bahamas in 1786.

Wesleyan chapel and mission premises in the eastern district of new providence Bahamas-1849

Additionally, he helped establish a school for blacks and free people of color that could have doubled as a way to teach Methodist philosophies as well. In this school, called The Associates School, he had 5 students in total. However, because of some external trouble, Paul was unable to continue it and he had moved to the Anglican faith.

The Methodist community did not get a new minister until 1800, who happened to a white Barbadian. This caused a change in the way the Methodist church contributed towards education.

By 1834, the Methodists had created day schools in Eleuthera that were primarily for white children and liberated Africans. Occasionally, the child of a slave may have been allowed to attend one of these days’ schools upon their master’s request.

Since then, there have been two schools that are listed underneath the Methodist church:

  1. Queen’s College, New Providence, Bahamas: the oldest private school in the Bahamas was established in 1890 but it was largely segregated. It is interesting to note that even though Bahamian white QC parents expressed strong desires to separate their children from other races while they were in school, there were a few colored children who were allowed in the mix, including Eugene Dupuch (the owner of the tribune/guardian). In 1948, Mr. Dupuch made a shocking speech at the Royal Victoria Hall stating that the white parents needed to start looking at children with different skin complexions with ‘Christian eyes.’ From then on, it is said that a lot of those outraged white parents moved on to create a white-only school (St Andrews). Eventually, there were strategies put in place by the Methodist church to make QC more representative of the majority population which forced integration.
  2. St Michael s Preschool, New Providence, Bahamas: was established in 1982 with the goal of educating kids between 3 & 4 in a safe learning environment.

The Baptist

The Baptists, along with the Methodists, are said to be two of the most contributing denominations towards

Bethel Baptist Church

educating the black masses. The baptist faith can be traced back to 1790 with the building of Bethel Baptist Church and its founders Prince Williams and Sharper Morris (who were free black men).

This faith had become so influential, that they have built tertiary level institutions.

Schools that are listed under the Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention includes:

  1. The Bahamas Baptist Community College (BCC), New Providence, Bahamas: This is the largest private tertiary institution and the second largest tertiary institution in the Bahamas. It was established in 1995 by Charles W. Saunders to offer certificates, Associates and Bachelor degrees in humanities, business and administrative studies, natural sciences and social sciences as well as college prep courses.
  2. Jordan Prince William Baptist School
  3. Charles W. Saunders Baptist School

The Catholics

The presence of the Catholic faith here in the Bahamas can be traced to 1887 when Rev. Charles George O’Keeffe was appointed as priest in the Bahamas.

Some of the Schools that are listed under the Catholic Board of Education includes:

  1. Sacred Heart Schools, New Providence, Bahamas: This school was established in 1889 by 2 individuals within The Sisters of Charity; Irene Gonzaga Batell, Maria Dodge. It started out as a summer sewing class which then evolved into an everyday school.
  2. Bahamian Catholic School Crest

    Xavier Academy/ Xavier Academy, New Providence, Bahamas: this is said to be the second oldest school and the very first Catholic school established in the Bahamas as it was established in 1890. But, according to the Catholic Board of Education’s website, there were three different Xavier’s: one was St Francis Xavier School (opened 1889 and closed 1979 to merge with St Josephs); St Francis Xavier Academy/Xavier Academy (opened 1890 but in 1955 was morphed into Xavier College); and Xavier College/Xavier Lower School (1955- present). Due to this insight, it would mean that, technically St Francis and St Joseph is the oldest school in the Bahamas (instead of Queen’s College) since it was merged with another school. I think it’s definitely something to inquire about. Another thing to note about this school is that it was also a segregated school for girls when it first opened and continued until 1967.

  3. St Augustine’s College (SAC), New Providence, Bahamas: It is said that this was the first secondary school that catered to the black majority. Its doors were opened in 1947 to 35 male students and 4 teachers. The classes lasted all day until 8 p.m so that students were able to study and it was the first Bahamian boarding school (but was discontinued in the 1970’s). In 1967, S.A.C (the all-boys school) merged with Xavier s School (the all-girls school) to become a co-ed high school but they still were taught in separate classrooms.
  4. St Thomas Moore, New Providence, Bahamas: opened in 1953 by The Sisters of Charity of New York

    First four faculty members at Saint Augustine’s College

    organization. They were sent to the Bahamas to do missionary work and they helped build several schools including Xavier s and Sacred Heart. When the school first opened, there were 3 Sisters of Charity posted at the school with 4 other teachers.

  5. St Cecilia, New Providence, Bahamas: opened in 1956 by Fr. Author Chapman with the help of the Sisters of Charity and Sisters of St Josephs of Canada organizations.
  6. Aquinas College, New Providence, Bahamas: opened in 1957 with the aid of five sisters from the Dominican Sisters organization who forwent business education at the school. They were also instrumental in creating a teacher training program for Bahamian nuns. Sadly both the business program and teacher training college had been discontinued 10 years afterward.
  7. St Francis de Sales School, Marsh Harbour, Abaco: established in 1964 by the Sacred Hearts Fathers, with the aid of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell and was exclusively a primary school located in New Providence. They didn’t move to Abaco until 1996 with the implementation of a high school.
  8. St Francis and Joseph School, New Providence, Bahamas: opened in 1979 by merging two previous schools, St Francis Xavier and St Josephs school (the fourth Catholic school that was opened in the Bahamas). Also, an interesting tidbit of information: St Francis Xavier s had implemented a high school in 1952 but that high school was discontinued to establish Aquinas College.
  9. Every Child Counts, Marsh Harbour, Abaco: established in 1997 out of a need to educate children with developmental delays and learning disabilities.
  10. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy, Freeport Grand Bahama, Bahamas: established in 1960 with 20 students and 3 teachers. Rev. Bishop Paul Leonard Hagardy, Wallace Groves and the Grand Bahama Port Authority all aided in the construction of this school. In 2014, it then merged with Grand Bahama catholic school (created in 1966), who was the only school to offer academic and vocational certification to high school students on Grand Bahama.
  11. Our Lady of the Souls, New Providence, Bahamas: this school was established in 1926 by Sr. Carmita Maria and Sr. Mary Rosella in Grants town

There were 10 other schools that the Catholic had created but those schools were either closed or merged with another school after a few years. However, due to this extensive list, it can be well seen that the Catholics really vested time and money into education.

Now that you know the church’s contribution towards education, was their contribution substantial enough to ensure that the black Bahamian populace became equipped members of society? In other words, is it enough that these churches just erected schools for the segregated? Have they made any other substantial contribution to our society? I’d love to know your thoughts on these questions in the comment section below.

Stay tuned for part III of this series where I will talk about the effects of slavery on our educational system.

 

Education Problems- Introduction to the History of education in the Bahamas Part I

(edited)

There are different opinions on which period was considered the best period in Bahamian education. For example,

Dr Keva Bethel

Rev. Dr. Charles Saunders had once said that the period between 1942 and 1967 were some of the best years in Bahamian education because Bahamians wanted to learn and they strove for excellence. On the contrary, the late Dr. Keva Bethel (pictured right), the 1992 president of the College of the Bahamas (now University of The Bahamas), had said that the 1967-1980s era of education had seen its peak.

Whatever the case may be, it’s obvious that the level of education had fallen sometime in the 1980s and have had trouble picking back up since.

In fact, things got so bad that in 2012, The Campaign for the Bahamas found that a staggering 3,345 students, which was 56% of students who sat the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations, received a D average and below.

This meant that more than half of the students graduating high school that year lacked the cognitive skills needed for general employment and were ill-equipped to continue with tertiary education. Please note that this figure did not include students who dropped out of school before completing the BGCSE or who opted not to take the national exams (it would increase to 70% if they were included).

How are we looking today?

The 2018 examination results looked slightly better as the number of students receiving a grade of D and below decreased to 52%. However, it still means that the majority of students who sat the exam still lacks the cognitive skills needed for employment.

This is worrisome because quality education is highly important for the development of a well-informed public who can advocate for good-paying jobs and make substantial contributions to the local economy. Without it, it means that we will always be prone to:

  • high criminal activity,
  • poor work ethics and practices,
  • The Bahamas becoming a less desirable place to conduct business and Bahamians will be considered the last to be chosen for jobs,
  • brain-drain due to stifling opportunities to produce new careers and
  • Government corruption and cronyism

Now, of course, there are other issues surrounding the BGCSE exam itself including its grading system. For example, there are two parts/papers to most subject exams; core and extended. The highest grade that you can receive in the core paper is a C whilst the grades for the extended paper can range from A-G. Sadly, most grade 12 students are only entered to sit the Core paper. But, this is silly because these students aren’t given a fighting chance to achieve higher than a C in their last year of school, thus skewing the results towards the negative. It’s almost as if the system wants us to fail while subconsciously telling us that we are imbeciles.

But the question is why?

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to always remain a child.”

This famous quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero tells us how important it is to look at the past to understand our present situation and learn from it. Therefore, in order to begin to comprehend our current socio-economic woes that can be linked to education, we have to look at situations and circumstances that led us to this point.

Our present situation can be linked to slavery and the issue of educating an individual who was considered nothing more than cattle. The church eventually stepped in and tried to improve the situation but the issue of an illiterate black public still prevailed. The way teachers were trained and compensated was another issue that lasted for almost 50 years and the Government’s involvement and contribution to education has always been abysmal. I will take a look at each of these topics in detail.

But first, how did education generally look in the new 1717 Woods Rogers colony?

psh School?! My Child? That’s unnecessary!

Woods Rogers Statue, Nassau, Bahamas

Up until 1836, education in the Bahamas was considered a luxury. This wasn’t far-fetched because as you would have seen in my previous post history of tutoring around the world, education was always only accessible to the elite while the poor regarded it as unnecessary because they were in survival mode.

Suffice it to say, the Bahamas was filled with poor people in survival mode as slavery was not as lucrative in this colony as it was in the others.

And may I remind you that before 1717 (when the Bahamas first became a British colony through the arrival of Woods Rodgers), The Bahamas was a haven for pirates. So it is easy to imagine that the population had the mindset of the pirates who were here, which was to drink, party and play games/gamble. This mentality would have existed until the Loyalists came in 1783 and maybe even through to today.

Loyalists incoming!!

The American Civil War of 1783 had a definite impact on the Bahamas, one of those influences being in education.

Britain had to sign an agreement with American Revolutionaries to exchange Florida for the Bahamas. This allowed Americans who were loyal to the British crown (called Loyalists) access to land in the Bahamas so they could have moved out of the United States. However, when they arrived, they thought that the current Bahamians were uncivilized and they tried to separate themselves by calling them ‘conchy joes.’

Also, let me remind you that slavery still existed during this time. Therefore, most black people were already considered 1/10th of a human. So who were the Loyalists referring to then? Just guess the color of their skin.

You guessed it. They were white.

Poor, uneducated white people.

So in addition to the vapid racism that existed, classism is now starting to take its shape which had leaked into the partially nonexistent educational system (Could you imagine that? Someone comes into YOUR land and looks down on YOU and you can’t do anything about it. Colonizers for ya).

Noting this, the Church decided to step in and tried to rectify this situation. This will be further explained in part II of this series.

What are your thoughts on the current educational system so far? Please leave your comments and suggestions below. I’d love to hear about them.

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