Minister of Education Hon. Andrew Holness, has said that he will replicate the success of the Expanding Educational Horizons (EEH) project, by using some of its components as Ministry of Education policy initiatives.
Speaking at a symposium and exposition of the EEH project at the Hilton Kingston Hotel today (April 30), Mr Holness said that its success must not be allowed to end when it wraps up in September.
“The failure of projects is the failure of the central Ministry to assimilate their benefits into the institution of public education,” he commented.
Minister of Education Hon. Andrew Holness (right), chats with Project Director of the Expanding Educational Horizons (EEH) Project, Dr Jean Beaumont (centre), and Stakeholder Support Specialist with the EEH Project Sheryl Brown, ahead of the EEH’s close of project symposium and exhibition at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, today (April 30).
Mr. Holness said that his Ministry would be making the Jamaica School Administrative System (JSAS), a major component of the EEH programme, the standard universal management system for schools. Software will be modified and introduced in an initial 600 primary and secondary schools in September, he added.
The Grade Four Literacy and Numeracy Tests are also to be further integrated into the general education system. Mr Holness said these tests would soon be administered nationally, with even greater emphasis placed on them than on the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
“GSAT will measure the knowledge of the child: how much on the knowledge spectrum that child has achieved. But, we want to ensure that the child has the competence to use the knowledge that he has,” the Minister noted.
Mr. Holness has credited an adherence to set targets for the success of the EEH project.
“It is a testimony to the success of the project that you were able to graduate 62 schools, and those that did not make the cut were just marginally off, but you did not sacrifice standards to accommodate them,” he stated.
He noted that when the Grade Four Literacy Test began, only 40 per cent of students achieved mastery, but the number is now at 81 per cent.
“No doubt the efforts of the Expanding Educational Horizons project has greatly enhanced those results,” Mr Holness admitted.
Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID), Karen Hilliard, has described the EEH as “one of the most successful projects funded by the USAID around the world.”
The EEH is the third phase of the New Horizons Project (NHP), first implemented in June 1998. The project is assisting the Ministry to improve educational achievement in 71 primary schools, with special attention to the performance of boys, and to increase the quality of academic interventions for at-risk youth in six participating non-governmental organisations. It has seen literacy and numeracy levels among boys and girls rise by as much as by 10 per cent since 2006.
JSAS is a management software that registers students, facilitates class placements, records daily attendance, generates term and year reports, and tracks and ranks student performance, individually, or by class and gender.