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Reid addresses concerns regarding roll-out of Nat'l Standards Curriculum

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2016 | 8:00 AMAndre Poyser

Minister of Education Ruel Reid has moved to address concerns regarding the roll-out of the National Standards Curriculum (NSC).

In a wide-ranging address to the 52nd annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), which concluded in Montego Bay yesterday, Reid responded directly to concerns about the NSC raised the previous evening by newly installed JTA president Howard Isaacs.

"Mr President, there is indeed a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum through the Planning Division at the ministry, and at least three reports have been prepared so far and are being used to support improvement, and this will continue," Reid said.

Isaacs had said that a comprehensive framework to monitor and evaluate the curriculum outcomes over the medium to long term was yet to be presented by the ministry.

"We must resist the temptation to be lethargic in effecting the necessary tools to monitor game-changing initiatives," he said in earshot of key ministry officials while delivering his inaugural address on Monday night.

Reid also moved to rebuff the assertion made by Isaacs regarding the lack of establishment of curriculum implementation teams and related terms of reference for their engagement.

"The curriculum implementation teams, having been established over two years ago, have all supporting documentation, including a draft policy, terms of reference, and operational procedures. These were circulated to all schools, and the training is currently on-going," he added.

 

PHASED ROLL-OUT

 

Updates on the NSC shared by the education minister indicate that school leaders and teachers have been engaged for training in preparation for the curriculum roll-out.

The implementation of the NSC will commence on a phased basis in September, starting with Grades one, four, seven, eight, and nine in all schools. The roll-out is to coincide with a pilot of the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education curricula in 50 secondary schools

While the union boss lauded the pedagogical soundness of the NSC in his inaugural address, he expressed concerns about a resource-barren education system, which, he said, would not be able to meet the requirements of the new curriculum.

"Feedback from colleagues suggests that the implementation of the curriculum will require significant resources, particularly as it relates to ICT and related curriculum drivers," he told delegates at the conference.

The education minister was, however, quick to lay those concerns to rest by pointing out that more than $300 million was being spent on resources to support the new curriculum.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com