Statement by Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn
at the Ninth Sitting of the First Session of the Third House of Assembly
Thursday, June 23, 2016
“ACCOMODATIONS FOR GRADE 12”
Madam Speaker, I wish to present to this Honourable House an update on the plans for the additional year in the education system.
Madam Speaker, although the plans toward the implementation of the additional year began two years ago, the six grades at the secondary level will take place in the 2016 – 2017 academic year. The junior secondary level now comprises of Grades 7, 8 and 9 and senior secondary, Grades 10, 11, and 12.
Madam Speaker, it is the intention of the Ministry of Education to ensure that our graduates from this education system are able to matriculate to any credible tertiary institution or be qualified for any entry level job position. We have had many success stories with the system over the years, however, we felt that there was need for some changes to enable more of our students to become successful.
Madam Speaker, we now have a clear demarcation between our junior and senior secondary schools. Grades 7, 8 & 9 will be used to strengthen foundation skills while in grades 10, 11, and 12, students will engage in studies towards their career path and preparation for external examinations as they prepare for tertiary education or employment.
The focus is on student maturity, mastery of skills; life skills and employment readiness skills. I want to stress that this is a process Madam Speaker and in the next few years we will see a change in the product coming from our schools.
In instituting the additional year, we realised from the onset that the necessary resources had to be deployed to ensure additional classrooms are available at the Elmore Stoutt High School and at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre, Secondary Division. Those plans Madame Speaker were put in place and for the Elmore Stoutt High school a master-plan for the proper development of that was created that will separate the 8-acre campus into a Junior High and a Senior High.
This is expected to be done on a phased basis over a period of time. The plan was discussed with various stakeholders and plans were initiated for the first phase which is to provide additional classrooms for September. As we are all aware, Madame Speaker, the budget for this year was completed in March and needless to say, at this point in time we must be very careful with the use of the country’s financial resources. Therefore any resources that we deploy, should go towards the realisation of that master-plan.
Our project manager and the team in the Ministry of Education presented to me three options for the additional classrooms considering the time factor. I accepted one of the three options, and plans are on the way to put this plan in motion. But of course, the proper financial procedures must be followed, which again takes additional time. That option I must say Madame Speaker, is the most cost effective and practical one.
The plan in the first phase Madam Speaker, will be the construction of two (2) two-story buildings consisting of fourteen (14) classroom and two bathroom spaces to be constructed on the Elmore Stoutt High School Campus, one two-story buildings being constructed on the Senior side of the campus and one on the Junior side of the campus. On the Bregado Flax Educational Centre campus, the addition will be one building consisting of four (4) classrooms.
One of the three options presented to me Madame Speaker, would have possibly allowed us to have classrooms ready for September or soon thereafter, but I rejected that option, because I am of the view that every penny spent on the campus, must go towards the realisation of the developed master-plan and not just be something to save face.
As you may be aware, Madame Speaker, Grade 12 students will be housed on the HLSCC campus for September until the buildings are completed. Discussions have been held with the College and the logistics worked out such as additional security will be provided, a designated administrator to manage the operations, transportation for students to and from the college campus and special arrangements with the cafeteria among other things.
This move will also serve to forge a stronger relationship between the secondary and tertiary levels as they will now discuss much more the move of the students from one level to the next, ensuring a much smoother and seamless transition. Madam Speaker, permit me to elaborate on the additions to the senior school programme which will make this clearer.
Madam Speaker, with the introduction of the additional year, we have made plans to implement the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) for those students in Grade 12 who are able to complete their CSEC Examinations in Grade 11. CAPE is designed to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical achievement of students who, having completed a minimum of five years of secondary education and wish to further their studies. The examinations assess the skills and knowledge acquired by students in 1 or 2-Unit courses with each Unit containing three modules.
Therefore Madam Speaker in Grade 10 students will select their programme of study as outlined in the subject offerings of the Ministry of Education. Each student is required to select one of the following programme areas:
The core subjects; English and Mathematics are mandatory in all the programmes as well as Tourism and Financial Services which are all requirements for graduation. A programme of Credits has been introduced and therefore students will be required to earn credits over the three years towards graduation. A total of 25 credits can be earned each year. The minimum requirement for graduation will be 20 per year or 60 over the three years.
Grade ten (10) students will begin preparation for external exams, earn credits, and earn community service hours.
In Grade eleven (11), the process continues and for those students who are ready, they will write external exams primarily the CXC CSEC examinations.
Madam Speaker in Grade 12, students will follow one of three tracks:
Secondary Certification Track
Students continue earning credits for graduation, earning community service hours and preparing for external exams.
Advanced Placement - CAPE
Students who were successful in five (5) or more CSEC subjects with Grades One or Two (1-2) including English and Maths and have matriculated to the CAPE Programme.
Students will enrol in 1 or 2 CAPE Units and will have dual enrolment at HLSCC.
Advanced Placement HLSCC
Students who were successful in five (5) or more CSEC subjects but received a Grade Three pass in one (1) or more subjects.
Students who were successful in four (4) of the CSEC subjects including English and or Math and with passes of Grades 1-3 will be dually enrolled at HLSCC.
The Caribbean Examination Council offers a total of 30 subjects at the CAPE level but at this introductory phase, we will offer the following subjects:
- Information Technology
- Caribbean Studies
- Performing Arts
- Communication Studies
- Integrated Mathematics
- Financial Services
We intend Madam Speaker to later offer other “new generation” subjects such as Digital Media, Animation and Game Design, Green Engineering etc. as we prepare students to pursue careers in emerging fields.
Students who write and pass five (5) or more CSEC subjects in Grade 11 with grade one or grade two passes, will be eligible to enroll in the CAPE programme in Grade 12. These students will also become dually enrolled at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. Successful completion of the examination will entitle the student to earn college credits for the unit completed. One CAPE unit completed will merit 10 credits at HLSCC. These credits will be applied to the Associates Degree at the community college.
The students enrolled in the CAPE programme at secondary schools will be allowed to do a maximum of two subjects. Each subject will be 10 periods a week. Students will have the option of completing Unit 2 of CAPE at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
Madam Speaker, the CAPE programme will begin at the secondary school in September, 2016. Select teachers will be trained by the Caribbean Examinations Council to teach the courses. This training will be taking place shortly.
There will be a cohort of students graduating in 2017 from secondary schools in this territory who would have already been dually enrolled at the community college and having earned 10 or more college credits, five or more CSEC certifications, CAPE certifications, and a high school diploma. These will be the most qualified and best prepared students leaving secondary school in the Territory and that Madam Speaker must be our focus.
Madame Speaker, finally I wish to state that the Ministry plans therefore with this initiative to further revise the scholarship policy where students will earn scholarships at the end of their tenure at the HLSCC rather than at the end of High School. Our students, on completing their time at the HLSCC will be in a much better position academically to proceed to universities as they further their education.