JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education will commence the second phase of the pilot of the new National Standards Curriculum in 49 schools in the upcoming academic year, in preparation for a full roll-out in the 2016/17 school year.
  • The first phase of the pilot was started last year in selected schools at the grade one to nine levels.
  • Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on August 25, said the writing for the new curriculum, developed based on a different philosophical approach from the previous one, has been completed.

The Ministry of Education will commence the second phase of the pilot of the new National Standards Curriculum in 49 schools in the upcoming academic year, in preparation for a full roll-out in the 2016/17 school year.

The first phase of the pilot was started last year in selected schools at the grade one to nine levels.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on August  25,  said the writing for the new curriculum, developed based on a different philosophical approach from the previous one, has been completed.

“The Ministry has recognized, over a few years, that the curriculum that we have at the primary level and from grade seven to nine presented a more generalised approach to education,” she said.

Dr. McLean  explains that the new curriculum promotes critical thinking and the use of analytical skills for students to be able to apply lessons taught to real life situations, adding that it is also based on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) approach to teaching.

“The world has moved away from mass generalisation to mass customisation, which simply means that whatever we are teaching now in our schools, it must be structured in a way in which the students can see their way through the individual areas that are being covered,” she said.

Dr. McLean noted that  the development of this curriculum is based on research and the observation of best practices in countries, such as Singapore and Finland, as well as Cuba and Barbados.

“So, it is expected that we will be starting to meet the needs of our students and that we will see them maximizing their potential and of course being better citizens, not only for Jamaica, but in the rest of the world,” she said.

Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Core Curriculum Unit, Dr. Clover Hamilton-Flowers, in a recent interview with JIS News, said teachers have been trained in preparation for the roll-out of the curriculum in all schools. She also reported a positive feedback from the teachers involved in the pilot.

Dr. Hamilton-Flowers said the curriculum emphasizes certain methodologies and looks at how scientific knowledge, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and engineering design can be integrated into lessons.

“A lot of it will be grounded in transformative thinking, allowing the learner to have authentic real life experiences even when we provide that experience in the context of the classroom. So, it’s not a lot of make-believe, but you are bringing real problems and designing these problems in ways that are appropriate for the level of development of the students,” she explained.