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Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has said that the Ministry will be working with underperforming schools to develop programmes and provide resources to address deficiencies in instruction, as it redoubles efforts to achieve universal literacy by 2015.
He added that schools will be assessed and held accountable following the results of next year’s sitting of the Grade Four Literacy Test.
“Decisions will have to be made on not just support and intervention but on looking at whether or not the teaching staff is effective and from that will flow actions ranging from support to separation. We will also look at whether or not the school is effective and that will drive another set of actions as to whether or not that school should continue to exist,” Mr. Holness said.
The Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 14) on the results of the 2010 Grade Four Literacy Test.
A total of 54,250 students from public and private schools sat the test, which was administered on June 29. Of the total, 47,137 were taking the test for the first time, while 7,113 were re-sitting from the 2008-09 cohort.
Minister Holness told the House that 67 per cent of students achieved mastery overall; 24 per cent achieved almost mastery; and nine per cent non-mastery. Of the 31,576 children who received mastery, 58 per cent were females and 42 per cent were males. In public schools, approximately 65 per cent attained mastery, 25 per cent attained almost mastery and 10 per cent non-mastery.
He said that in order to achieve the target of universal literacy, those schools that have not achieved their targets will be notified of the required actions as detailed in the School Accountability Matrix and the support strategies outlined in the National Comprehensive Literacy Programme.
“Letters will be sent to board chairmen to secure action and as prescribed are enforced. Achieving universal literacy by 2015 will need the collaborative effort of all stakeholders including parents, schools and communities,” Mr. Holness said.