Extend high school programme to seven years - Paulwell
A member of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriation Committee (PAAC) has recommended that the government increase the number of years Jamaican students spend in high school from five years to seven.
Phillip Paulwell, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kingston Eastern and Port Royal, also wants the government to take over the sixth-form programmes.
Secondary education in Jamaica is for five years, but students can opt to do a two-year sixth-form programme to earn more academic qualifications to meet entry requirements for some tertiary institutions.
Not all high schools have such a programme, which cost students in excess of 50,000 per year.
Paulwell argues that at age 17 students are not adequately prepared to pursue higher education.
Dr Maurice Smith, the permanent secretary in the education ministry, who was leading a team of officials and agencies that appeared before PAAC, said the ministry has been looking at the possibility.
Meanwhile, Smith said the proposal to make secondary education seven years is not to be confused with the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education programme that was launched in March that makes seven years of high school an option for some students.
PAAC Chairman, Dr Wykeham McNeill, says the committee would include the recommendation in its report to Parliament.
If the Parliament accepts the recommendation, it would go to the Cabinet for deliberation.