Mixed reviews to additonal school years
A recent announcement by Education Minister Ruel Reid that the period students spend in secondary schools will increase from five to seven years has been met with mixed reviews from parents and students. Reid later announced that this will only be applicable to students who need further academic and skills-training support after completing fifth form.
Some parents think this is a good move for students who are struggling academically. "Well, I have one in fourth form that isn't doing so well. I think the extra two years will help to prop him up for him to be ready for the exam," said Marcia Lynstead.
Another parent, Wayne Francis, expressed surprise when asked about the new development. "I didn't know about this change, but it's a good move because there are a lot of slow children out there that need more time," he explained.
A parent of two high-school students, Ruth Simpson, said the move should be compounded with other well-needed changes in the education system. "They need to find better ways to teach certain subjects, such as science and mathematics, because the kids nah learn; so we need fi see changes there," added Simpson.
But some students are not as receptive about the extension that is expected to begin in the 2016-2017 academic year.
Anna-Kaye Morgan, a Kingston Technical High School student, said the additional years will not be useful because of issues within the education system that need to be fixed. "As someone who goes to a school with slow kids, I can tell you that seven years won't help us unless there is a change to make us learn things easier," said the third-form student.
Kingston College fifth-former, Jonathan Williams said that students from traditional high schools do not need the additional two years. "Some people don't need more than the five CSEC that qualifies them for their degree at UTech, so why should they do two more years? They don't need it," argued Williams.
The education ministry said that at grades 12 and 13, students will have the opportunity, through Career Advancement Programme, to move into the traditional sixth-form programme or a technical sixth-form programme, which will also include opportunities under the National Apprenticeship Programme.