Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lessons to be learnt from our Education System

It is imperative that as a society we reflect on the successes of the education system and learn as much from its failures with the aim of improving the system. While most of our children continue to do relatively well at the secondary level, there are many others who have been given a disservice by the stakeholders of the education system especially those students who attend non-traditional high schools. The stakeholders of the education system including the Ministry of Education has been rather short-sighted in not doing enough to ensure that all students leaving high school leave so with some form of certification.
The Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) examination for the most part is widely misunderstood by both educators and students. The CCSLC examination was developed by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) primarily to prepare individuals to participate fully as productive members of Caribbean societies throughout the region.
The last three years a significant number of our high school pupils have graduated without having the opportunity to sit any external based examination and consequently have been denied the chance to be certified as competent in any given field.
The CCSLC examination targeted pupils who were enrolled mainly at upgraded high schools since the majority of those pupils for varied reasons were not ready to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. It should be noted that the government of Jamaica was responsible for paying the fees for candidates to sit this examination.
However, with the suddenness of Jamaica’s decision to discontinue this exam many students were left out in the cold. The City and Guilds (United Kingdom) based examination which was suggested by the Ministry of Education as one such alternative is much too expensive for the average student especially when one considers that a student would probably sit a minimum of four subjects.
The Ministry of Education therefore needs to revisit that policy decision that of pulling Jamaica out of the CCSLC examination, and or put measures in place so that we do not have a repeat of what happened this year in which hundreds of students graduating from secondary schools without any form of certification. This is just unacceptable in an age of global competitiveness and technology. The Education ministry needs to pay more attention to schools in the category of upgraded high school. As a society we see the premium parents and students place on getting into those brand names high schools after the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). Our children certainly deserve better and those who are in positions to influence policies should do so to benefit all children not only some.