JIS News

The Ministry of Education has announced that it will be releasing the results of the Grade Nine Achievement Test (GNAT), on Monday, August 17.
The GNAT is used to determine placement of students from Junior High and All-age schools into high schools, which go up to at least Grade 11 (Fifth Form).
At a press conference at the Ministry of Education, today (August 11), Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, said the results would be late this year, as the Ministry faced challenges in finding places for students.
He informed that 11,500 students took the GNAT this year, an increase over previous years. “The increase is not so much due to new students entering the junior secondary or all-age system, but more so, because we have had to ask students to repeat. So, there is a significant number of students who are repeating the Grade Nine test,” he explained.
However, Mr. Holness has promised that all the students will be placed and has asked parents to “understand and assist the Ministry as best as possible.”
Mr. Holness told members of the media that the Ministry was partnering with several private schools to have students placed there, while some would continue their education at the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning. However, he said the Ministry is still trying to find places for 204 students by Monday.
The Ministry had a problem finding school places for students in Manchester, St. Catherine and Clarendon, where there are space shortages.
Mr. Holness said the only solution to the space problem is to build more schools, as he is opposed to suggestions to place some schools on shifts.
“There are programmes in place right now. We are designing them to look at the funding of building the schools, because that is critical, given the other financial constraints that the nation faces right now, but it is a sacrifice that the nation must make,” he stressed.
Mr. Holness also suggested that the money collected as education tax be dedicated towards building education infrastructure.
The GNAT covers two subject areas, English Language and Mathematics, and is administered at the end of Grade Nine to test the competence of students who have completed the first cycle of secondary education.
Jamaica has committed, since 2006, to have all students remain in school up to Grade 11. Prior to 2006, only about 62 per cent of secondary students were given places in high schools past Grade Nine.

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