Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, is urging students sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) to accept the secondary school in which they are placed, and to excel.
This, he said, as the standards of all secondary schools are improving, with many of the newer institution doing “very well”. In addition, he noted, the GSAT scores have been improving over the years, and with so many students focusing on the traditional high schools, some simply cannot be accommodated due to limited space.
“We have to recognise that change is taking place. In particular areas and generally, they (new high schools) are securing results that are comparable to the so-called traditional schools…the cohort is often different and this is an issue that we have to face, but our parents, our teachers, our students, we in the Ministry, have to recognise that there is a change,” Minister Thwaites stated.
He was speaking at a press briefing on Monday March 19 at the Office of the Prime Minister to provide details on this week’s GSAT.
Currently, placement of students in high school is automated and done on the basis of performance in GSAT and in relation to the student’s choice.
Performance is ranked by the students’ composite scores, starting with the student with the highest score, then moving to the next highest score, until the last child is placed. If all spaces within the student’s five choices are exhausted, placement proceeds on the basis of the relevant school’s secondary preference list, and if necessary, manually, on the advice of education officers.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister said the country can be proud of its record in terms of providing secondary school spaces. “We have places in our high schools for about 87 per cent of our cohort. That is better than many countries (but) it is not satisfactory for us…we want 100 per cent good high school places,” he remarked.
In this regard, he said, the government is looking to partner with the private sector and communities, informing that ground will be broken soon for a high school in
St. Catherine, which is a venture between the church and the Ministry.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter