Ninety-eight per cent of children in State care pass GSAT
They endured long hours of studying, going over practice papers daily to get a qualifying average that will help them transition from primary to secondary school.
The results are in! Of the 141 children across the Child Development Agency's four regions (South East, North East, Southern and Western); 137 were successful in the Grade Six Achievement Test.
A breakdown of this number shows that 53 passes accounted for children in child care institutions and 84 in the Agency's Living in Family Environment (LIFE) programme. Of the total passes there are 75 girls and 62 boys.
The LIFE programme is a more desirable alternative to residential care for children in need of care and protection, which includes foster care, adoption, family reintegration, and supervision order.
Director for CDA's Children and Family Programmes, Audrey Budhi, says she is ecstatic that 98 per cent of the children who sat the exam earned a place in a high school, which shows that they have the potential to excel academically.
"All children in State who are at the required age and able to sit GSAT did so which is mandatory. We know that education is the vehicle which will help our children to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty, and become men and women of tomorrow; so we have to educate them because it's their fundamental right," she said.
She said some of the children who sat the GSAT have received averages ranging from 45 to 95 per cent, adding, "Those with the higher averages were placed at the schools of their choice which is commendable".
Some of the high schools that the children will be attending include Calabar, Excelsior, St Hughs, Vauxhall, Jamaica College, Mona, Oberlin, St Elizabeth Technical Holmwood Technical, Porus, Vere Technical, Guys Hill, Muschette, Charlemont, Manning's, William Knibb Memorial, Mount Alvernia, York Castle, Ocho Rios and others.
Budhi said all children who are enrolled in regular schools benefit from GSAT extra lessons during the week and on Saturdays to ensure that they are fully prepared.
Lauding the caregivers, foster parents, teachers, parents, guardians, counsellors, and all who contributed to the children being successful in the GSAT; she encouraged them to continue to assist the youngsters to strive for greatness because without their support and dedication, many of them would not have made it this far.
"It takes a person with a big heart to care for a child that is not biologically theirs. These children are entrusted in our care, so we have to do our very best to love, care, and protect them; while ensuring that their needs are met, enabling them to function effectively in the society, upon leaving Sate care," Budhi said
She revealed that the agency will soon host a special event for the awardees to honour and prepare them for the transition from primary to high school. "Transitioning from primary to high school can be challenging for most children, so we will use this medium to help our children to make a smooth change. The event will feature a variety of presentations and activities, conducive to their needs," she says.