Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ro­mario Scott/Gleaner Writer

ED­U­CA­TION MIN­IS­TER Ruel Reid has made it clear that he will be mak­ing a stri­dent push to shake up the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem that he believes is over-re­liant on the Caribbean Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Cer­tifi­cate (CSEC) from the Caribbean Ex­am­i­na­tions Coun­cil (CXC), and which is pre­vent­ing young peo­ple from at­tain­ing their full po­ten­tial.

Reid an­nounced yes­ter­day that the Na­tional School Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate would be in­tro­duced in the up­com­ing aca­demic year and would re­place the CSEC as the min­i­mum stan­dard re­quired for en­try-level jobs.

“We are not at all dis­count­ing. We are not re­duc­ing stan­dards. It’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion be­cause if you look at the de­sign of the sys­tem, the struc­ture is just wrong,” Reid dis­closed yes­ter­day. He was speak­ing at the Mona Vis­i­tors’ Lodge in St An­drew, where a sum­mary of the Caribbean Ad­vanced Pro­fi­ciency Ex­am­i­na­tion, CSEC, and City and Guild Re­sults were re­leased.

Ja­maica has seen an over­all im­prove­ment in the per­for­mance of stu­dents sit­ting the CSEC ex­ams, but amid con­cerns over a bleak fu­ture for many stu­dents who fail the exam year after year.

Reid in­sisted that the CSEC, go­ing for­ward, could not be the sole qual­i­fi­ca­tion stan­dard if the coun­try in­tended to max­imise its hu­man re­source po­ten­tial.

“You want a flex­i­ble, ag­ile ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem! There was a time when we used it (CESC) to screen out the ma­jor­ity be­cause we only had two per cent ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion,” rea­soned Reid. “So we have to de­con­struct and re­con­struct the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in that re­gard,” he added, mak­ing the case for the need for a di­ver­si­fied set of stan­dards.

He said that the min­i­mum stan­dard Na­tional School Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate would be be­low the five CSEC sub­jects em­ploy­ers of­ten de­mand.

“The great ben­e­fit from all of this is try­ing to change the pro­file from this mass amount of stu­dents grad­u­at­ing

with­out any train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to now putting them in an en­vi­ron­ment where ev­ery­one has an op­por­tu­nity to leave the for­mal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem by the time [they] reach the adult age of 18 with a min­i­mum stan­dard of lit­er­acy, nu­mer­acy, and a mar­ketable skill,” the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter said.

Reid, like the CXC reg­is­trar, Glen­roy Cum­ber­batch, who laid bare his con­cerns in Gre­nada last week, said that the time has come for Caribbean Vo­ca­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tion, City and Guild, and the Na­tional Vo­ca­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Ja­maica to be recog­nised and seen as qual­i­fi­ca­tions fit for pur­pose to give stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity at life.

Yes­ter­day, the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter dis­closed that 88.9 per cent of stu­dents in pub­lic schools who sat the CSEC exam re­ceived pass­ing grades in at least one sub­ject.

He said of the 34 sub­jects sat, 22 showed im­proved pass rates over 2017.

Math­e­mat­ics and English lan­guage re­ceived per­cent­age passes of 57.8 and 75.4 per cent, re­spec­tively.


Sen­a­tor Ruel Reid (left), min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion youth and in­for­ma­tion, presents the math­e­mat­ics guide to Tamika Ben­jamin, na­tional math­e­mat­ics co­or­di­na­tor, dur­ing the launch of the Pro­fes­sional Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme for math­e­mat­ics spe­cial­ists at the Univer­sity of The West In­dies, Mona, St An­drew, yes­ter­day.

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