BSCA believes that in order to bring about conservation in The Bahamas, we, as a country, must work together. To fulfil our education mandate we have partnered with Young Marine Explorers. Visit the YME website or keep reading to learn about their educational philosophy.
The Problem? Governments throughout the world struggle to address and manage environmental resources. The Government of The Bahamas is no exception. As the population grows, and new responsibilities for environmental protection and protected area management emerge, Bahamians have to understand, support and comply with regulations that the Government with limited resources cannot enforce, such as unregulated coastal development, clearing of coastal plants, filling wetlands, illegal dumping and unregulated harvesting of marine resources are prevalent within The Bahamas[1, 2].
There are two main causes of environmental degradation in The Bahamas. The first is limited government investment in education, which results in poor educational output, especially in underserved communities. Underserved includes marginalized and disadvantaged populations like those in isolated island communities and urban ghettos. The Minister of Education, in his 2015 address to the 8th Inter-American Meeting of Education Ministers, disclosed that more than one-third of the current Bahamian workforce had failed to graduate from high school where the graduation rate in the public school system has been roughly 50% for the past 15 years . The second cause is the limited capacity of governmental and non-governmental environmental organisations to monitor, restore, and manage natural resources.
A Solution. Young Marine Explorers (YME), a Bahamian non-profit organization, has a mission to educate and inspire youth to become the leaders needed to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of The Bahamas. YME has designed a program to address the two underlying causes of environmental degradation, dubbed the YME method.
The YME method involves educating, engaging, and inspiring youth through environmental education and leadership development. The YME program accomplishes this through experiential lessons and activities which reinforce formal classroom lessons. Experiential learning activities take a non-traditional Bahamian approach to education through student centered learning by activities, games, drama, art, and field exploration.
The Young Marine Explorers curriculum has been designed to support the Ministry of Education goal “To ensure that all persons in the commonwealth of The Bahamas develop physically, mentally, socially and spiritually in order to function responsibly and productively in an increasingly, dynamic, scientific, technological and complex society.” YME has taken a strategic and systematic approach to create and provide new opportunities for pubic school students to facilitate efforts to improve the quality of education that they receive and enable higher academic performance through environmental education
Anticipated Long-term Outcomes. Students to successfully complete the three-year YME program would be in a competitive position when qualifying for scholarships to post-secondary education institutions, or when seeking to become gainfully employed. It is expected that successful YME graduates will demonstrate:
- Improved performance on the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education exams
- Increased number of students enrolled in post-secondary education
- Improved understanding of Bahamian laws and regulations
- Appreciation of the value of volunteerism
- Improved problem solving skills
- Improved professional skills for the work force
- Willingness to become environmentally aware citizens who remain actively involved in citizen science projects designed to monitor, protect and restore the countries biodiversity
Sealey, K.S., V.N. McDonough, and K.S. Lunz, Coastal impact ranking of small islands for conservation, restoration and tourism development: A case study of The Bahamas. Ocean & Coastal Management, 2014. 91(0): p. 88-101.
Shiel-Rolle, N., Monitoring Corals for Resource Management: A Bahamian Approach to Conservation utilizing Key Stony Corals. 2014, University of Edinburgh: Scotland.
Hartnell, N., Business ‘Screams’ Confirmed: 40% of Workers Can’t Compete, in The Tribune. 2015, Tribune Media: Nassau Bahamas.
MOEST, T.B.M.o.E.S.a.T. The Department of Education. 2013 March 31 2015]; Available from: http://www.bahamaseducation.com/aboutdept.asp.