KINGSTON — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Audrey Sewell has informed that since implementation of the National Student Registration (NSR) system, over 51,000 students have been registered at the grade six level.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry’s Heroes’ Circle offices in Kingston on August 19, Mrs. Sewell also told journalists that approximately 40,000 students have been registered at grade one.
Mrs. Sewell further informed that the Ministry was also in the process of entering and verifying registration forms for grades three and four. She said grades two and five forms are also being processed for entry.
She noted that forms for prospective grade one students would be dispatched this week, pointing out that the Ministry has created a National Database and this is being used to capture all the data.
The Permanent Secretary told journalists that despite the fact that all grade six students for the previous year have now been registered, the process was not without its challenges.
She said a failure to register students at the grade six level presented a problem in many instances, particularly for the sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
“There were instances where there were students who turned up and their names were not on the list of persons to sit GSAT, because there was no registration,” she said.
Mrs. Sewell lamented that although the Ministry had advised parents in several instances that every child is to be registered, particularly those at grade six to enable them to sit the GSAT, there were over 2,500 students who turned up at GSAT centres unregistered.
She said despite being unregistered, the students were accommodated and allowed to sit the examinations.
The Permanent Secretary said that the Ministry has been successful in getting all public schools to comply with the new registration programme. However, she informed that there has been a major problem of non-compliance among private schools.
“We have 17 private institutions to which we sent registration forms from last year, and to date, despite the many efforts of our officers, even at the level of our Chief Education Officer, we have not been able to get those institutions to comply and to submit forms for the grade one cohort,” she noted.
Mrs. Sewell said the lack of compliance has posed a major problem, particularly for the sitting of the GSAT. “Come late September or early October we will begin the registration for GSAT for 2012 and so we need these students to be registered,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary is appealing to parents and teachers at private schools to ensure that the forms are returned to the Ministry of Education urgently.
“I don’t know that we will be as accommodating as we have been in the past for the last GSAT,” she said.
Mrs. Sewell explained that the unique identification number which is attributed to the student once he or she is registered represents another strategy of the Ministry in its emphasis on data-driven decision making, to ensure that a student can be tracked throughout the primary and secondary levels of the system.
This management system provides a powerful tool for planning, monitoring, evaluating, assessing, accounting, research and quality control, she said. “It should also enable the development of legislation around the process of school registration and student record-keeping to ensure that accurate information is available on each student in the system with the necessary security and access level in place,” she added.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter