JIS News

No child will be allowed to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) unless he/she is certified as literate and numerate, said Minister of Education, Andrew Holness.
He said that students, who fail the Grade Four Literacy Test, will be promoted to grade five, while teachers continue to work with them to advance their literacy skills. If they again fail the test, they will have to re-sit it at grade six.
“Every parent must know, don’t worry about GSAT, shift the focus. Worry about your child being literate and numerate,” Mr. Holness said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Jan. 22).
He was responding to a motion brought by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, for amendments to be made to the Education Act and related regulations, to ensure that children achieve mastery at each grade before they are promoted to higher grades.
Mr. Holness pointed out, however, that if children who fail at grade four are not promoted, an additional 93 classrooms or 10 more schools would have to be built to accommodate them.
“We are already way behind in terms of spaces and schools so it would cost us in addition to what we need. The Ministry is trying to reduce the student-teacher ratio from 45:1 to 35:1. The building of 22 schools would have to be done in the immediate to near term,” the Minister said.
Mr. Holness also noted that improving early childhood education and reducing class sizes will facilitate a better cadre of students in the future.