Education Minster tours US Special Needs school


May 03, 2016
Ruel Reid

Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, youth and information, says his recent tour of the School of the Future in Philadelphia, USA, has validated the ministry's decision to implement the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education approach in September this year.

The School of the Future caters to a mixture of students with and without special needs.

Reid, who visited the US-based institution along with a group of Jamaican school principals recently, was informed that children with special needs are allowed to stay in school until age 21. He noted that this was similar to the ministry's recent policy decision to extend

secondary schooling to seven years or to age 18 to allow

students more time to gain the relevant certification.

According to its vision statement, the School of the Future is about redefining the "norm". It is about answering the question, "What if?" And it is about demonstrating what learning must look like in the 21st century for all students.

Following his visit, Minister Reid has restated his call for universities in Jamaica to partner with the ministry to determine the level of special needs in our education system. He is of the view that there might be a higher population of children with

special needs, such as autism, than what education officials and school administrators are aware of.

The school tour was coordinated by the Irwine Clare-led Team Jamaica Bickle, Inc, based in the USA.

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