JIS News

Minister of Education (MOE), Hon Andrew Holness, has reassured parents that his Ministry will continue to assist students taking Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects this year, but that the process must become performance-based next year.
“The discussions I have heard from various quarters, that students will be deprived, is not true. I want to assure Jamaica, that the students who would normally be sitting the exam this year, that they need not worry because there is provision in the budget to continue the subsidy for this year,” he stated.
However, he cautioned that this will be the last year that students will get an open-ended subsidy because, as of next year, the intention is to make it a performance driven incentive.
“Students this year will benefit, but next year we will not call it a subsidy, it will be an incentive. Students will continue to get assistance with their examinations, but not in this open-ended way. Whatever money we spend must go towards improving performance,” the Minister said.
“In a time of crisis, when everybody is being asked to conserve and become efficient, we cannot continue an open-ended subsidy,” he appealed. The Minister also explained that the details of the incentive based system are still being worked out.
Mr. Holness made the statements at a press conference at his Ministry, National Heroes Circle in Kingston on Thursday (October 1), at which he clarified responses to questions asked during Tuesday’s review of the supplementary estimates in Parliament.
The Government currently assists with 4 CCSEC subjects – Math, English, a science subject and Information Technology.
He said that this year, the Ministry was willing to continue paying the subsidy, to the extent that a contingency was provided in case the fees, per subject, are increased.
“We have identified areas in the budget that we can either defer expenditure to next year, or reallocate to meet the excess, if an excess demand were to present itself. So, there is no need for panic; there is no need to worry,” he assured.
“Our position is that it is more efficient to spend money to keep students in schools, to give more schools more funds so that they can better deliver the education curriculum, so that students have a better chance at the examinations. The present structure of the subsidy does not support performance,” he lamented.
He said that in 2008, the difference between the number of students who registered for the Exam, and those who sat the Exam was 3,572, meaning that about 10 per cent of students who registered did not actually sit the exam.
“That’s a deadweight loss to the subsidy that amounted to approximately $4.5 million, that just went,” he pointed out.
He said that, in terms of students who sat the exam compared to those who actually passed, the difference was 34,000. This meant that while the total subsidy was $102 million, $43 million was spent on students who did not even get a minimum grade 3 pass. He said this left the Ministry with no choice but to examine the policy.

Skip to content