JIS News

The pilot phase of the High School Equivalency Programme (HISEP) has been getting positive feedback from its target population.
Project Manager of HISEP, Elaine Ferguson says since the programme was announced last September, there has been marked interest in HISEP with as many as 650 persons being registered.
The programme presents a second-chance for adults to get the secondary education they missed because they stopped attending school at the primary level, dropped out of secondary school before completing the requirements for certification and/or graduation, or completed secondary school without adequate certification.
“It is an equivalent, a parallel other secondary programmes. In order to get the High School Equivalency Diploma you have to pass all of five of the HISEP core subjects, which would be equivalent to five CXCs,” she explains.
Mrs. Ferguson points out that the programme is neither remedial nor “second rate” noting that at the same time HISEP “is not a programme, which is competing with CXC or any other secondary level programme because it is targeting adult learners.”
Intended to create an independent learner, HISEP comprises a comprehensive range of courses designed to meet the educational needs of adults for job placement, job improvement, job promotion or further education. The five core areas that will be offered are: Language and Communication, Understanding and Presenting Literature and Culture, Society and Citizenship, Science and Technology and Mathematics.
At the same time, learners will be exposed to other areas, including computer skills, as the data collected so far show that most of the potential candidates are not computer literate, Mrs. Ferguson adds.
The Project Manager says HISEP is not only aimed at equipping persons to enter the working world or to be better able to function in their working environment, but is also intended to create sovereign learners, equipping them to take their education to the highest level and prepare them for lifelong learning.
Mrs. Ferguson notes that the programme is the result of partnerships at the highest level within the educational sector. The materials are developed by the National Council on Technical Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET), which will also administer the examination and certification. The Jamaican Movement for the Advancement of Literacy Foundation (JAMAL), will implement the programme.
She says HISEP is attempting to place a pilot centre in strategic locations to ensure a “good rural urban mix”. For each center, there will be approximately 25 learners with a minimum of three facilitators to cover the subject areas.
Mrs. Ferguson explains that HISEP is a learner-focused programme of self-instruction, which will allow persons to learn at their own pace. An inventory to assess person’s readiness for independent learning and secondary education has already been administered to the majority of learners who will be involved in the pilot. The orientation, which will be on a phased basis, is to begin in March.
The Project Manager says that based on the recommendations of the consultant utilized by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to design the evaluation programme, persons have been placed into three batches “which is roughly equivalent to good, average and poor”.
The decision has been taken to use the ‘good’ and ‘average’ for the pilot. These persons have displayed the ability to work independently and are able to manage work at the secondary level.
She says individuals in batch three, are persons, who based on the diagnostic assessment are not yet ready for a programme of independent learning at the secondary level. She recommends that a special programme be put in place to address the needs of those persons.
“The idea for the pilot is to help us to assess and evaluate both the course content and also all the assumptions that we have made about how adults learn, the effectiveness of the methodology and so on. The pilot is supposed to give us a chance to evaluate those, assess and refine our assumptions and if there are things we didn’t get right, to take the corrective measures,” Mrs. Ferguson emphasises. She adds that a database is being developed as information is gathered to be used in the evaluation of the pilot.
“The response to the programme has been positive. it is very obvious that the programme is necessary, it is going to be a very important part of the education process,” she notes.
The pilot is slated for completion in September with implementation to begin as soon as the necessary adjustments are made. Mrs. Ferguson was unable to give the full cost to applicants. However, she says that HISEP “will not be free.”