JIS News

On the heels of the amended education resolution in which the Government and Opposition reached consensus, on Tuesday, October 14, Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson has said that a draft plan of action that incorporates several aspects of the resolution would be made public by December.
Minister Henry-Wilson made the announcement at a press briefing hosted at Jamaica House, which saw Opposition spokesperson on Education, Senator Anthony Johnson, in attendance.
Speaking of a deadline to have a tentative plan in place that reflected the nine points, which were raised in the resolution, she said that the Ministry would seek to have one ready within the next three months to present to Cabinet.
She said the plan would “show what it would mean in terms of the human resources and financing needed to have all these objectives achieved.”
Included in the nine objectives mentioned in the resolution are the increase of the government’s education budget by $1 billion a year for a five-year period, the provision of a comprehensive book lending programme, a compulsory after-school homework programme, upgrading teachers to required degree levels, and the introduction of performance incentives for teachers in rural and inner city schools.
Minister Henry-Wilson observed that the resolution was arrived at based on the collaborative efforts of the Government and the Opposition, which was a clear “indication of how a mature and constructive democratic government process can take place.” She further noted that, “the negotiations around the resolution showed how we can maturely sit down and look at the national interest.”
The Minister explained that while both political parties agreed that inroads needed to be made in order to improve the educational system for the nation’s school children, the Ministry was also considering a number of initiatives, including the introduction of a high school certificate for persons who have completed secondary education without securing CXC passes or a diploma.
She revealed that the Ministry was “looking at a high school leaving certificate in which students will be given a full range of subjects to allow them to meet minimum international standards in terms of leaving high school.”
Minister Henry-Wilson was quick to point out that the likely introduction of this certificate would not impact on students being required to sit CXC examinations.
“In looking at the high school leaving certificate, we may have to bring together many other school leaving certificates. We are not removing the Caribbean Examination Council. It may even be that we ask the Council to administer this examination for us. But right now, many students do not take CXCs or any school leaving exams so when they leave, they have nothing to show the level of competence they have achieved while at high school.”
Addressing the Opposition’s view on the resolution, Senator Johnson, said the Opposition welcomed the opportunity to work alongside the government in seeking to make significant changes to improve the educational process.
He said that the Opposition would vigorously monitor the programme through its implementation “to ensure that quality education becomes not only available but is accepted and will appear in the results we hope to see.”

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