JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education is targeting the 2017/18 academic year for roll out of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which is slated to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
  • Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, says the PEP aims to assist in alleviating existing challenges associated with long distances traversed by secondary students to get to school, by introducing zoning to place youngsters in institutions close to their homes.
  • Dr. McLean informed, however, that the zoning concept is not new, as it was instituted during the 2013/14 academic year to place approximately 3,000 Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH)-beneficiary students.

The Ministry of Education is targeting the 2017/18 academic year for roll out of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which is slated to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, says the PEP aims to assist in alleviating existing challenges associated with long distances traversed by secondary students to get to school, by introducing zoning to place youngsters in institutions close to their homes.

Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, at the Agency’s Head Office, in Kingston, Dr. McLean, in addressing public concerns over the issue of long distance commute by students, assured that when approved, the PEP “will ensure that parents have the option to place students closer to where they live.”

She, however, acknowledged that some parents would prefer that their children be placed “close to… where they work.”

Dr. McLean informed, however, that the zoning concept is not new, as it was instituted during the 2013/14 academic year to place approximately 3,000 Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH)-beneficiary students.

“Once they fall on the secondary placement listing, which is what we commonly call proximity placement…(then) we identify those high schools that are in closest proximity to each primary school (they attended), after the system has exhausted all the spaces available, based on choices and grades,” she explained.

The Chief Education Officer advised that the Ministry “deliberately” tries to place those students close to their primary schools because “we make the assumption that if they could have made it to those primary schools, it is likely that the parents would have (made) arrangements for them to go to the high schools close to those primary schools.”

“(Hence),we did that to see if we could minimize the impact of them having to travel long distances,” she further indicated.

Meanwhile, Dr. McLean said the Ministry is also seeking to provide support to candidates in this year’s GSAT who have been traumatized by recent frightening events experiences.

“All situations within our schools that affect GSAT students are treated specially. We track the cases and our trauma team is out there providing support to our schools. They (will) bring to our attention, any of those cases that may affect those children,” she assured.