- Principals and other high school administrators urged to ensure that literacy or numeracy challenges are addressed
- Concerted efforts must be made to improve the standard of English and Mathematics
- High school administrators urged to carefully analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their new students
Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging principals and other high school administrators to ensure that literacy or numeracy challenges which new students entering their institutions may have, are addressed as a matter of priority.
“When you go in with the grade seven students in September…spend the time to get to know them and if there are weaknesses in literacy and numeracy, stop and curb those before you rush on to the five, seven, or nine other subjects,” he emphasizes.
The Minister made this appeal while addressing Friday’s (August 9) awards ceremony for students who successfully completed the TEACH Caribbean summer school programme, at the Mile Gully High School in Manchester.
Rev. Thwaites said based on this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination results, particular attention and concerted efforts must be made to improve the standard of English and Mathematics in all schools.
He pointed out that in analyzing the results “frankly (they)… aren’t what we want them to be”. He noted that even though the English scores were better this year, “they still aren’t what they were the year before and the year before that.”
“Mathematics results aren’t good either. More than half of those who took the subject did not pass and only about a half who ought to be taking the subject actually do. So our standard of Mathematics in Jamaica is not adequate a foundation for the development that we all seek to be able to have the jobs, (and) to be able to have the professions that are going to make us prosperous,” he bemoaned.
Against this background, Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry is placing tremendous emphasis on early education, to ensure students will have a solid foundation on which to chart their future academic success.
He urged high school administrators to carefully analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their new students, as outlined in their Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores profiles, and develop individual learning patterns which will assist in addressing any shortcomings arising.
TEACH Caribbean is a non-profit educational organization, initiated by a group of Jamaican Rhodes Scholars, which aims to improve the quality of and access to educational resources for high school students, through innovative methods and curricula.
The entity administers a five-week summer programme at high schools in rural Jamaica each year, during which students are taught Mathematics and English Language. Special focus is placed on addressing problem areas arising from the preceding school year, in preparing the students for the upcoming academic year.
Students begin the programme during the summer after completing the 7th Grade and return each summer, thereafter, until Grade 11.
A total of 78 students from May Day and Mile Gully High Schools participated in this year’s programme.