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  • The Caribbean Examinations Council has added five new subjects to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) syllabus.
  • The subjects, Agricultural Science, Entrepreneurship, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, and Tourism, will be available for study beginning in September 2014.
  • The addition of these new subjects follows last September’s introduction of Digital Media. There are now 30 subjects available at the CAPE level.

To adapt to the changing economies of the Caribbean region and diversify the subject offering to students, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has added five new subjects to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) syllabus.

The subjects, Agricultural Science, Entrepreneurship, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, and Tourism, will be available for study beginning in September 2014, with the first examination scheduled for 2015.

The addition of these new subjects follows last September’s introduction of Digital Media. There are now 30 subjects available at the CAPE level.

Each subject was formally launched in the CARICOM country best recognised in that area. As such, Tourism was launched in Barbados; Agricultural Science in Guyana; Entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago; Performing Arts in St Lucia; and Physical Education and Sport was officially launched on May 20, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

Speaking at  the launch, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the introduction of the subjects augur well for the continued development of the region and is in line with the Ministry’s policy priority to integrate technical and vocational education and training  (TVET) into the high school curriculum.

He added that it is the intention of the Ministry that by 2016, all students must graduate with at least one marketable skill among the suite of subjects in which all will sit examinations.

“We are no longer educating without reference to the economy and the job market here and abroad and to say this is not to demean the notion of a liberal education… but it is to recognise that liberal studies must be twinned with, and are not in contradiction to technical and vocational education,” the Minister said.

He argued that the introduction of these subjects is timely, as the economic situation in Jamaica and the region dictates that much more weight be given to acquiring skills which will attract investors and equip young people to work and thrive in the region and anywhere in the world.

Rev. Thwaites added that persons equipped with skills are more likely to gain employment as micro-business operators, compared to persons with certification only in academic subjects.

In the meantime, the Minister said that the Ministry and HEART Trust/NTA will this year double the training for more than 250 teachers who can guide new students to sit the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) examinations.

For her part, Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, said the new generation of CAPE subjects will likely create a healthier Jamaica, a healthier region, reduce the nation’s health cost, promote a more peaceful society, reduce stress levels, create a greater pool of athletes and provide more opportunities for economic development.

Explaining the rationale for the additional subjects, Acting Pro Registrar, CXC, Dr. Carol Granston, said research has shown that the regional governments cannot create enough employment for the persons graduating from schools, as more are becoming qualified.

“Part of what we need to do is to equip them with those skills to create employment for themselves and others, which is why we have developed these particular subjects,” she said.

Dr. Granston said the response to the subjects, particularly entrepreneurship, has been tremendous, adding that the School Based Assessment (SBA) component of the subjects will contribute 40 per cent to the overall course.

She noted that three new syllabuses are being developed for 2015 and include Animation and Game Design; Green Engineering and Logistics and Chain Supply.