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  • Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, says the Ministry of Education is “heartened” by the positive feedback to the new suite of subjects incorporated into the national secondary schools’ curriculum, which students are currently taking in external examinations.
  • These include Tourism, Digital Animation, and Entrepreneurship, which, she said, are among a set of “new generation” subjects introduced by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
  • The Chief Education Officer added that these courses, which are being offered at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) levels, “are subjects that are trending.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, says the Ministry of Education is “heartened” by the positive feedback to the new suite of subjects incorporated into the national secondary schools’ curriculum, which students are currently taking in external examinations.

These include Tourism, Digital Animation, and Entrepreneurship, which, she said, are among a set of “new generation” subjects introduced by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

The Chief Education Officer added that these courses, which are being offered at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) levels, “are subjects that are trending and…leading to advancing (students) to tertiary level education or (their progress in) the world of work.”

She made these remarks while speaking at the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) recent two-day labour market forum at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, held under the theme: ‘Promoting Youth Employability and Entrepreneurship through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)’.

Dr. McLean informed that 17 students successfully sat the Digital Animation examination at the CSEC level at the end of the 2013/14 academic year, which they were taking for the first time.

“All 17 of those students received Grades One and Two. That verifies the point that our young people are just eagerly awaiting…opportunities… to maximise (their) potential in the right areas,” she argued.

She said the undertaking forms part of the Ministry’s commitment to develop a “customised education” system.

“Gone are the days when we can only focus on the (traditional academic subjects)…and expect that our students can be properly prepared to take the jobs that are available within the society. So, in focusing on a customised education system, what it simply means is we have to ensure that we stay (attuned) to…labour market information … and utilise this…to determine the programmes that we offer within our schools,” she contended.

In noting the impressive academic performances of students in recent years, Dr. McLean said this is partly attributable to the rapid technological advances, which have increased their access to information, adding that, in a number of cases, “some of our students are quire bored with a generalised education system.”

“So,…it is (against) that background that we have sought to review carefully and study the labour market information and have actually sought to influence our examination bodies…as it relates to…(developing relevant) CAPE and CSEC courses,” she added.

Dr. McLean said the Ministry is also committed to advancing National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) programmes, through HEART Trust/NTA.

The two-day PIOJ forum was held to disseminate labour market information to a select group of participants to enable them to make informed career choices.

It involved collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Labour Market Information Technical Advisory Committee (LMITAC); HEART Trust/NTA; and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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