Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is calling on teachers and other critical stakeholders in the education system to come together to enable the success of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).
He made the appeal as he addressed the 2018 Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education awards ceremony at Jamaica House last evening (June 27).
PEP, which students will sit for the first time next year, replaces the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as the national secondary-school placement examination. It is intended to provide an improved and more complete profile of students’ academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.
The Prime Minister said the exam aims to prepare Jamaica’s students for the 21st century “(by) moving from rote learning to developing their critical-thinking skills and abilities”.
Coupled with this, Mr. Holness noted, is recognition of the need to deepen support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) without diluting the importance of the liberal arts and humanities.
“As educators, you have long been adept at making the connection between and among various subjects. This we must do to a greater degree to address realities,” he said.
The Prime Minister further noted that the National Standards Curriculum is moving the education system in the “right direction” and invited the teachers’ support, adding that “through this curriculum, we must be intentional in encouraging our students to make the connections”.
Forty teachers, who have collectively given over 200 years of service to education, were presented with awards during Wednesday’s ceremony.
The Prime Minister, in commending the award recipients, said that Jamaica’s teachers have been at the forefront of social change through their work, which has spanned generations.
He said that not only has this been manifested through personal behaviour, but also in their lobbying for students’ access to quality education and amendments to instructional delivery, including methods and materials used, in keeping with the rapid advancement in technology.
“You have continued to mould the characters of present and future generations” he added, “providing our children with a well-rounded education, developing in them a thirst for the academics, curiosity for learning, (and) a consciousness for their own responsibilities to their families, to their communities, and to their country”.
Mr. Holness emphasised the need for continued encouragement of the nation’s children to be imaginative and inventive, noting that “flexible thinking outside of existing norms will inspire us to do things in a different way… a much better way”.
He said it is against this background that the Administration continues to increase financial support for the early-childhood sector in order to lay the foundation on which the children’s minds “can be fed and nurtured for the different stages of their education”.
Mr. Holness said the nation’s teachers have been instrumental in the national focus towards transforming the education system to make it more adaptable to 21st century requirements.
He said that Jamaica has “come a far way and made good progress”.
“We have seen notable improvements in national exams at the primary level and in school administration. We have engaged in much dialogue to reach a common understanding of what needs to be done,” he pointed out.
He emphasised the need to “build on the achievements and continue to work to nurture our students, so that they can be innovative, creative, confident persons… ready to take on the challenges of their generation”.
Source: Jamaica Information Service