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Compulsory Education Programme After Grade 11 Launched


November 4, 2021 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |

A Revolution In Education

The Education Ministry held a Town Hall on the 6th Form Pathway Programme today Thursday November 4, 2021. This is the implementation of the Compulsory Education Programme which is 56 years late.  The education Act of 1965 mandated this from then, but for some strange reason this provision was never implemented by successive governments before in Jamaica.

The Education Ministry’s Launch of this 7 year compulsory Education Programme called “Pathway” is a big game changer. There are different pathways 1,  2 and 3.

Reference to the Ministry will mean the Education Ministry for the purpose of  this story.

“This is an investment in our children”.

So stated Mrs. Fayval Williams, Education and Information Minister.

The Ministry will work under a non mandatory contribution.  Government will also provide material and pay from $17, 000 to general students and $19,000 for those on PATHE. Up to $100,000 will be given in grants to help fund the programme to high schools.

“Children on The Programme of Advancement Through Health And Education (PATHE) will pay nothing.

Parents may contribute if they are able to do so. That is the government social assistance programme.”

So stated Minister Fayval Williams as she further addressed the Town Hall.

Principals of schools are asked to have conversations with parents so as to direct them to which Pathway they would be qualified to be placed in.

$100,000 will be provided to PATHE recipients. They will have to apply for this grant through the Ministry of Labour & Social Security.

Dr. Tameika Benjamin is the assistance officer and Mathematics Coordinator.

Unfortunately Ms. Doreth Campbell, a Deputy Education Officer was unable to be reached to make her input.

University Level

Should a student now decide to matriculate to the University level then the student will have to first register with the school they are leaving from. The school will then send this documentation unto the University which in turn will apply to the Ministry of Education to send the grant to fund the student’s further education.

Working Students

Students who have been working say through the pandemic. Parents should get in touch with their child’s school to see if an accommodation can be made so your child can still benefit from this Compulsory Education Programme.

1965 Education Act

From 1965 the Education Act called for children to graduate at age about 18 or 7 years of high school education at the high school level.  We have been graduating students from High School at age 16.  The 1965 Education Act was never brought into full force. The Compulsory Education Programme is now 56 years late. Students will graduate at grade 13 instead of 11 as was the norm. It will make the graduates better rounded and more equipped for the world of work and future life. This was stressed by the education Minister Mrs Fayval Williams, the minister also said.

Partnerships 

The Education Minister said she was a late bloomer as so many of us.  It is not where you were, but where you are today.

Commentary

This is indeed a revolution in education in Jamaica. We are 56 years late, but they say better late than never.  It has some similar features, in my view to the Second Chance programme that is practiced and experienced in many regions of Canada. Certainly in the Province of Ontario. For me this is continuing education. Great move!

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, elegist, author, and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper.

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