- The Ministry of Education is reporting an increase in the percentage of passes
- 63.6 per cent or two-thirds of the students who sat the exam, passed
- Many teachers in the primary and secondary institutions are not deemed fully equipped and qualified
The Ministry of Education is reporting an increase in the percentage of passes recorded in 25 of 35 subjects sat by Jamaican candidates in this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
Some of the subjects include: Caribbean History which recorded a 75.1 pass rate compared to 73.9 percent in 2012; English B – 80 per cent compared to 74.2 in 2012; Building Technology (construction) – 84.5 per cent as against 73.2 in 2012; and Food and Nutrition – 91.7 per cent pass rate compared to 89.4 per cent last year.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who outlined the details during a media briefing at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices on Monday, August 12, said, of note, is the nearly 12 per cent increase in passes recorded for English Language.
This, he pointed out indicates nearly 63.6 per cent or two-thirds of the students who sat the exam, passed. The Minister further noted that although 1,100 fewer students took the exam, 2,500 more students passed compared to 2012.
Rev. Thwaites advised that this year’s Mathematics results were nearly five per cent higher than the passes for 2012. This, he noted, indicates a 42.2 per cent increase in the number of candidates who successfully sat the subject in this year’s examinations.
Despite this, he said the Ministry was not satisfied with this year’s results of these “core subject areas” deemed imperative for economic growth and development.
Research, he informed, “has shown that mathematics attainment is the single most reliable education factor which is directly linked to economic growth and development.”
Rev. Thwaites also voiced concern that many teachers in the primary and secondary institutions are not deemed fully equipped and qualified to effectively support the teaching and learning of mathematics.
A 2011 Ministry census showed that only nine per cent of mathematics teachers in secondary institutions are fully qualified to teach the subject to Grade 11. The census also showed that 40 per cent of mathematics teachers at the secondary level were trained in other specialist areas, while 39 per cent of teachers at the primary level lacked mathematics certification.
Rev. Thwaites said this year’s CSEC Mathematics results did not catch the Ministry flatfooted.
“We were not pleased by the results last year, and since then we have been working assiduously to complete the review of the….2003 National Numeracy Policy,” Rev. Thwaites said.
He stressed that the policy’s guidelines, scheduled to be implemented in September, are pivotal to the Ministry’s efforts in addressing the state of mathematics education in Jamaica.
Key standards that the policy seeks to establish include: contact hours for teaching mathematics at all levels of the education system; qualifications required to function as a mathematics teacher; and requirements for the continuous professional development of mathematics teachers.
The results of the CSEC examinations will be posted on the Caribbean Examination Council’s website www.cxc.org as at 10:00 pm tonight (August 12).