Statement
19 April 2016 - 11:15am

HOA STATEMENT - UPDATE ON PLANS FOR ADDITIONAL YEAR AT THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND CULTURE - MYRON V. WALWYN
Monday, April 18, 2016

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, the 2014 – 2015 school year saw the implementation of the additional year at secondary schools across the Territory. The junior secondary level now comprises of Grades 7, 8 and 9 and senior secondary, Grades 10, 11, and 12. 

It is the intention of the Ministry of Education to ensure that our graduates from our education system are able to successfully matriculate to any credible tertiary institution or be qualified for any entry level job in our economy.  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. This we believe will help our students thoroughly understand concepts being taught and be able to transfer the knowledge gained to practical and attractive skills.

The introduction of the additional year required the revision of curricula.  We needed to ensure that subject content bridged the gap between primary and secondary education, and reflected continuity of the learning process. As a result, a curriculum review was conducted and the curricula were revised to be more current and standards-based.

Madam Speaker, I have made it clear that the standards-based curricula are not optional.  Principals are to ensure that they are used at every grade level and in every subject area.  Secondary teachers are challenged to make the necessary adjustments to use a learner centred approach over the traditional teacher focused instructional approach.  Differentiated instructions must cater to the varying learning styles and there must be even greater emphasis on varied forms of assessment and evaluation, interdisciplinary instruction and integration. 

Although the implementation of the additional year began two years ago, the addition of the sixth grade on the campus will take place in the 2016 – 2017 academic year.  The Ministry of Education and Culture recognises that many changes would be associated with the initiative, not only in the areas of teaching and learning, but also in the physical structure of the public secondary schools, where the initiative would have the greatest impact.  Additional classroom spaces are necessary to cater to the increased enrolment of students in Grade 7 and those remaining after Grade 11. 

The system changes would require four two-story buildings consisting of sixteen (16) classroom and bathroom spaces to be constructed on the Elmore Stoutt High School Campus, two two-story buildings being constructed on the Senior side of the campus and two on the Junior side of the campus.  On the Bregado Flax Educational Centre campus, the changes would require one two-story building consisting of 16 classroom and bathroom spaces to be constructed. Madam Speaker, plans are presently being put in place to have the additional classrooms erected.

Madam Speaker, mention has already been made of the junior and senior separation and demarcation by grade levels, but permit me to elaborate on the additions to the senior school programme.

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:

•           Arts

•           Business

•           Technical

•           Science

The core subjects are mandatory in all 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 10 students will begin preparation for external exams, earn credits, and earn community service hours.

In Grade 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 two strands:

Strand One: Advanced students will be enrolled in the CXC Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and at the same time enrolled as an HLSCC student.

Strand Two: Those students who were unable to complete the CXC CSEC examination will continue with earning credits for graduation, earning community service hours and preparing for external exams.

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

•           Entrepreneurship

•           Chemistry

•           Physics

•           Biology

•           Communication Studies

•           Integrated Mathematics

•           Financial Services

Students who write and pass five 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 to start courses early 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 and this training will take place shortly. 

By August 2017 CAPE subjects will be offered at the H. L. Stoutt Community College and courses will run for both Unit One and Unit Two of the courses offered at the secondary level, as well as in other subject areas such as Pure Math and Law.

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. Making the class of 2017, the most qualified secondary students in the history of this Territory, and preparing those young persons for greater access to tertiary education and improved job readiness to enter the Territory’s workforce.

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.

Thank you Madam Speaker.

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