Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has informed that there will be changes to the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) come next year.
"Beginning next year, there will be changes in the examination – gradual at first, but hopefully moving in the direction of what the educationalists call higher order intellectual skills," he said, while addressing the Guardian Life GSAT luncheon at the entity’s offices in Kingston, on August 3.
He said the examination, which "has been a matter of controversy in recent times," is currently under review, but will not be scrapped as "we have to have an exit examination from the primary system."
The Minister noted that “it is a valid concern” that the examination must not focus on memorising things, but rather emphasise critical thinking, such as the ability to make judgements and assessments.
"Education is not only to be gauged by how many subjects you pass. We have an examination culture and while examinations are important, they don’t describe everything," he argued.
On another matter, the Minister informed that in September, “a robust and vibrant module of civics” will be introduced in schools, with special emphasis on the teachings of National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey, who “spoke to self dignity and to respect."
He said this move is imperative, as a new sense of responsibility and understanding of what it means to be a Jamaican, needs to be infused in schools.
“Many of us, bright as we are, are much too selfish and much too dismissive of other people. We need to move ourselves away from that towards a more holistic and spiritual outlook, if we are going to make use of the talents that we have,” the Minister added.