EDUCATION MINISTRY TO INTRODUCE NATIONAL SCHOOL LEAVING CERTIFICATE FOR ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS
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.