What Went Wrong? Losing the Best; Nation-building with the Rest

“The one walking with the wise will become wise, but the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly”. – The Bible – Proverbs 13:20 NWT

There is no doubt that our Caribbean communities are suffering from a bad case of societal abandonment. Everyone in the Caribbean knows someone that has left. In fact, whenever there is a colleague we know from the hometown that is skilled and competent, we would expect them to leave and be disappointed if they have not; see this dramatized in the Appendix VIDEO; caution for Strong Language.

Search your heart, you know it to be true. That Valedictorian from High School, if he/she is still in the Caribbean, you are puzzled right?

This is our dilemma!

If/when all the best students leave, the remnant only reflect the rest – Less Than best students.

One Caribbean country – The Bahamas – has been faced with this reality. As their Brain Drain rate gets worse and worse, they are now measuring the academic performance of the remaining students, and the grade is bad:

‘D’ Average.

See the full news article here:

Title: Results Expose Failing Schools
By: Khrisna Russell, Deputy Chief Reporter
A DAY after Education Minister Jeff Lloyd said “something is wrong” with the country’s educational system, officials withheld an official subject letter grade breakdown for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education examination results, which also show that of 6,692 students who sat the national tests this year, only 521 or 7.8 per cent, scored a C or above in mathematics, English and a science subject.

This is about a nine per cent decrease compared to last year.

This lack of detailed BGCSE statistics raises questions over how students fared in individual test subjects and highlights challenges this country faces regarding the readiness of youth to adjust to life after high school where they are expected to transition into the work force or college.

However, sources within the Ministry of Education told The Tribune this year’s test scores did not depart greatly from the dismal grade trends seen in both 2015 and 2016.

On Wednesday Mr Lloyd told educators during an event in Grand Bahama that they could not continue to rest on their laurels while the national exam results remain at a D average.

“For the last 10 years or more, the BGCSE results have shown not (any) improvement; we started out with a D, we are still at a D – something is wrong,” the minister said during the Ministry of Education’s annual Teachers’ Enrichment Day. The event was held at the Jack Hayward High School gymnasium on Wednesday.

He continued: “There is no way to camouflage it; there is no way to excuse it; something is wrong and we must fix it.”

He went on to stress the only way the issue could be corrected was to go back to the beginning and start with preschoolers.

In 2015, core subjects of mathematics and English averaged an E and D+ respectively. In 2016, the ministry did not release letter grades per subject, but then Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald confirmed at the time that the grades were not much different from those of 2015.

Prior to 2015, subject letter grades were released with the official BGCSE and Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) exam tests scores. The following year, the ministry broke away from its traditional analysis, only giving a general overview and percentage calculations per letter grade. This year, the Ministry of Education also did not hold its usual press conference to officially release the results, this time opting to disseminate the details of the tests by email.

“In 2017, a total of 521 candidates received at least a grade C or better in mathematics, English language and a science,” the press release accompanying the 2017 results noted. “This represents a decrease of 9.23 per cent when compared to 2016 which had a total of 574 candidates. There were 570 candidates in 2015; 588 in 2014 and 561 candidates in 2013.”

According to the new results, there were 2,141 As; 3,000 Bs; 7,065 Cs; 5,569 Ds; 3,496 Es; 1,936 Fs; 1,184 Gs and 710 Us for the BGCSE exams.

Regarding the number of students who sat these tests, there were 6,692, or a 3.95 per cent increase compared to the 6,438 test takers in 2016.

A further breakdown of the results showed in 2017, a total of 1,493 candidates obtained a minimum grade of D in at least five subjects. This represents an increase of 2.33 per cent from 2016, which had a total of 1,459 candidates.

There were also 1,534 candidates achieving this mark in 2015; 1,545 in 2014 and 1,626 in 2013.

In addition, a total of 880 candidates received at least grade C in five or more subjects in 2017 compared with 903 candidates in 2016.

This represents a decrease of 2.55 per cent. There were 961 candidates in 2015; 922 candidates in 2014 and 996 in 2013 in this category.

The Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) examination results were not much different when compared with the BGCSE test scores.

Of the 12,120 students who took the tests in 2017, only 1,326 or 10.94 per cent of candidates achieved at least a C in mathematics, English and a science.

“This represents a 14.67 per cent decrease when compared with 2016, which had a total of 1,554 candidates. There were 1,479 candidates in 2015; 1,651 candidates in 2014 and 1,302 candidates in 2013,” the Ministry of Education said in its press release.

The BJC results also show there were 3,831 As; 7,033 Bs; 9,395 Cs; 8,036 Ds; 6,036 Es; 4,508 Fs; 2,954 Gs and 2,565 Us.

“When compared with 2016, there is a percentage decrease noted at grades A, C, E and U and increases at B, D, F and G. It is interesting to note that this is the second consecutive year the percentage at U has decreased.

“Overall, the percentage of candidates achieving grades A – D decreased this year when compared with last year,” the Ministry of Education said.

Source: Posted August 31, 2017; retrieved July 29, 2019 from: http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/sep/01/results-expose-failing-schools/

While this article is from 2017; an except of the full Ministry of Education Report (MOE) for the 2017-2018 Academic Year is also hereby attached in Appendix below. This commentary is hereby published during mid-summer 2019; so we only have analysis based on that 2018 report. See a related news article on the latest MOE Report from September 3, 2018:

Title: Exam Passes Down Again
By: Khrisna Russell, Deputy Chief Reporter
STUDENTS who took the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations performed marginally worse this year [2018] in comparison with those who took the national tests in 2017.

See the full article here: Retrieved July 29, 2019 from: http://www.tribune242.com/news/2018/sep/04/exam-passes-down-again/

This has not always been the case. What Went Wrong?

Simple: This grade is an average!

In the past, there were better students in the Bahamian educational eco-system. If you total all of those test scores and divide by the count, you get the average. If you then take away all the higher earners and calculate the average again, the result is an even lower average score. Repeat this process again and again and the overall average lowers.

Welcome to the ‘D’ Grade Reality. This is indicative that the best-of-the-best have left, are leaving and unless something is done, will continue to leave.

(“An apple doesn’t fall far from a tree”; so most good students have children that are good students; most bad students rarely have children that are good students. This is Nature and Nurture).

This commentary completes the July series from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. This submission follow through on the theme “What Went Wrong?“, focuses on Caribbean defects and dysfunctions in every aspect of Caribbean life; many which have been addressed and remediated by other societies – think North America and Europe yes, but even Asian communities. So this creates the pressure of Push and Pull, in which our people leave to seek refuge in those places.

While this is entry 6-of-6, the full catalog were published as follows:

  1. What Went Wrong? Asking ‘Why’ is Important
  2. What Went Wrong? ‘We’ never had our war!
  3. What Went Wrong? ‘7 to 1’ – Caribbean ‘Less Than’
  4. What Went Wrong? ‘Be our Guest’ – The Rules of Hospitality
  5. What Went Wrong? Failing the Lessons from Infrastructure 101
  6. What Went Wrong? Losing the Best; Nation-building with the Rest

Though the foregoing news article cites the Bahamas, the experience of falling test scores have befallen all Caribbean communities. In this What Went Wrong series, we did not only detail the timelines of the faults and breaks, but also drew reference to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for reforming and transforming the Caribbean region – all member states, individually and collectively. So the solutions here-in are for the Bahamas and the rest of the region.

The problems of failing Caribbean education scores are too big for any one member-state alone, we would need the leverage of the whole Caribbean neighborhood – despite the language, race, colonial heritage or political structure – to forge the change and solutions.

Forge the change and solutions?
The Go Lean movement (book and previous blog-commentaries) asserts that technology, Internet Communications Technology (ICT) in fact – can be the great equalizer in education solutions so that smaller countries can compete with larger ones worldwide.  Imagine, right on our islands, coastal shores, rural settlements, barrios and ghettos, our students can have the best-of-the best for instruction, knowledge base, tutorials and reference sources.

Yes, we can … correct What Went Wrong in our Caribbean education evolution with these different strategies, tactics and implementations. See how this theme was developed and presented in these previous blog-commentaries:

Title: Future Focused – Personal Development and the Internet – November 8, 2017

“I believe that children are the future; teach them well and let them lead the way”.

That is just a song; but this is life.

  • What is the hope for the Caribbean youth to be transformed in their development compared to past generations?
  • What transformations are transpiring in the region that shows willingness for the people and institutions to embrace the needed change?

In 2017, a focus on the future for young people must also consider “cyber reality” and/or the Internet. This consideration is embedded in the Go Lean roadmap. In fact, the book presents the good stewardship so that Internet & Communications Technologies (ICT) can be a great equalizing element for leveling the playing field in competition with the rest of the world. …

The Go Lean book presents the plan to deploy many e-Learning provisions so as to deliver on the ICT promise in educating our Caribbean youth. The book references the roles and responsibilities of e-Learning in many iterations; this shows the Future Focus of the Go Lean roadmap; …

The future – of electronic learning systems – is now! The technology is ready and the Caribbean youth is ready. We only need to deploy the delivery models to allow our students to matriculate online. See the profile of this American company that is currently available:



Title: Future Focused – College, Caribbean Style – November 10, 2017

A huge step in making [distance learning] happen occurred with the development of the personal computer and the Internet. It took a while for modem technology to gain use in distance learning, but once it did, online educational platforms started popping up all over the place, first by connecting private computers directly, but later on the Internet. Add in the benefits of updated teleconferencing technologies, and it’s no wonder that six million postsecondary students take at least one fully online class every year.



Title: Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Lower Ed. –  April 27, 2017
(Avoiding the bad American example)

We need more e-Learning options in our Caribbean homeland, for all education levels: K-12 and college. There are many successful models and best practices to adopt. We are in position to pick, choose and refuse products and services from all our foreign trading partners, including from the US. (We must assuredly avoid their societal defects).

One successful model is “iReady”  [used by Miami-Dade Country School District].

The purpose of the Go Lean movement is not education, rather it is presenting a roadmap to reform and transform the societal engines (economics, security and governance) of the Caribbean. We must reboot to stop the Brain Drain. But education is important! Education is directly related to economics. See how this theme was developed in many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16882 Exploring Medical School Opportunities … as Economic Engines
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15543 Ross University Relocation Saga: There Goes Economy and Jobs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13952 Welcoming the Caribbean Intelligentsia: Educated Economists Role
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6269 Education & Economics: Welcome Mr. President
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4487 Role Model FAMU – No. 3 for Facilitating Economic Opportunity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1433 Caribbean loses over 70 percent of tertiary educated to Brain Drain

All of the Caribbean feature societal defects and dysfunctions. A lot went wrong! Now that we have diagnosed that, we can better prescribe remedies.

We cannot go back in time and correct the Caribbean Bad Start – associated with slavery and colonialism – we can only go forward from here and weed out the bad community ethos; then adopt the good ones, plus strategies, tactics and implementations that we need to reboot society.

Yes, we can.

This is the assertion of the movement behind the Go Lean…Caribbean book and the resultant roadmap. So we urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this roadmap to make our homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Reference: The Ministry of Education submits the results of the 2018 Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations.


… The national examinations are all graded on a seven (7) point scale, i.e., High-Up: A – Lowest of the low: G – all grades indicate a measure of positive achievement. Grade ‘A’ denotes the highest level of performance while grade ‘G’ denotes the lowest level. …

BGCSE Grade Outcome Statistics

Females continue to outperform males receiving higher percentages at A – C and lower percentages at E – U. Males outperformed females at D. It is interesting to note that females increased in percentage at grades A and B this year while males decreased in performance at A – C. It is unfortunate that males also increased in percentage at grades E – G. Positively, both males and females decreased in percentage at U.

See full report at this: https://www.bahamaslocal.com/files/BJC%20&%20BGCSE%202018%20Results.pdf posted August 2018; retrieved Bahamas Ministry of Education; July 29, 2019.


Appendix VIDEO – Good Will Hunting | ‘The Best Part of My … (HD) – Ben Affleck, Matt Damon | MIRAMAX – https://youtu.be/Xv7eeMikM_w


Published on Dec 15, 2015 – Chuckie (Ben Affleck) gives Will (Matt Damon) a friendly dose of reality.
In this scene: Will (Matt Damon), Chuckie (Ben Affleck)
About Good Will Hunting:
The most brilliant mind at America’s top university isn’t a student; he’s the kid who cleans the floors. Will Hunting is a headstrong, working-class genius who is failing the lessons of life. After one too many run-ins with the law, Will’s last chance is a psychology professor, who might be the only man who can reach him. Finally forced to deal with his past, Will discovers that the only one holding him back is himself.
Starring, in alphabetical order: Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Cole Hauser, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Williams
About Miramax:
Miramax is a global film and television studio best known for its highly acclaimed, original content.
Visit Miramax on our WEBSITE: https://www.miramax.com/ Good Will Hunting | ‘The Best Part of My Day’ (HD) – Ben Affleck, Matt Damon | MIRAMAX
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