KINGSTON — Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced that 17,400 students gained four subjects or more in the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) results this year, 2,800 more than the 14,600 students who passed more than four last year.
Mr. Holness said with the number improving by almost 3,000 the public school system has added another 3,000 students this year, “who will either be seeking a space in a sixth form institution, a tertiary institution, or requiring student loans or other forms of support."
The Minister was speaking to journalists during a press briefing at his Hero's Circle offices in Kingston on August 19.
"The core of the CXC population is doing well. That’s basically half of the sitting population, or 52 per cent, that would have received four or more subjects, so that’s very positive for the education system on a whole,” Mr. Holness said.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that there has been a slight decline in Jamaica's overall performance in the CXC results, with the country recording almost a two per cent decline in overall grades at the regional examination, while Mathematics fell by six per cent and English A by 2.3 per cent.
"Of important note is that the results of CXC have shown a general decline regionally. Jamaica is half of CXC's candidate entry, so clearly if there is a decline it would affect Jamaica as well, or Jamaica’s decline would affect the region,” he stated.
Mr. Holness said he was concerned about the six per cent fall in Mathematics passes, which included both public and private candidates. Mathematics results for public school candidates fell by 4.8 per cent.
"Last year we had improved, this year we have a decline. I can't say why as yet, because we haven't done the in-depth analysis just yet,” he stated. The Minister suggested that the changes in the way in which the Mathematics paper was presented by teachers might have had an impact on the results.
“What CXC has said is that some teachers apparently were teaching to past papers with the old syllabus and did not make the change immediately,” he explained.
The Minister noted that while there was a decline in the results for some subject areas, more students were passing more subjects at the CXC level and that this augurs well for the system.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter