Sun | Sep 15, 2019

High schools will now have more critical thinkers – Green

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries  Floyd Green receives a gift basket from former scholarship recipient Shannaia McDowell following his keynote address at the Gateway Co-operative Credit Union-sponsored Enid Gonzales Primary Exit Profile Scholarship Luncheon and Awards ceremony in St James last week Thursday.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green receives a gift basket from former scholarship recipient Shannaia McDowell following his keynote address at the Gateway Co-operative Credit Union-sponsored Enid Gonzales Primary Exit Profile Scholarship Luncheon and Awards ceremony in St James last week Thursday.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green has said that students entering high school today are far better prepared in the area of critical thinking than ever before.

Giving the keynote address at the Gateway Co-operative Credit Union-sponsored Enid Gonzales Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Scholarship Luncheon and Awards Ceremony in Montego Bay, St James, last Thursday, Green said that from every conceivable indication, the inaugural staging of the PEP exam was not as bad as “originally feared”.

“The PEP was indeed new and indeed different. It is about creating a new type of student. But more importantly, what we had to ask ourselves, while I was at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, was what it is that we want the outcome of our education process to be,” he said.

Green, who was formerly the state minister in that ministry, said, “Is it that you want students that are very good on exams … , who can swot and just reproduce whatever you give them … or do you want thinkers?

“Do you want people who can solve problems? I can tell you that these students who are now entering into our secondary schools are way better than what we produced before because the reality is that we have started to reshape the approach to education.”

The state minister said that it was illogical to think that education was all about the ability to take an exam, noting that this was among the least important aspects of education and below the bar of one’s ability to think.

Thinking differently

“Education is about training the mind to think differently. It’s about solving problems, to communicate, to collaborate, and that was the basis of our PEP exams,” he added.

Green said that it was also important to note that when a student goes to high school now, their teacher will not just have a grade as it relates to assessing that pupil, but will have a profile to go by.

For the 2018-19 academic year, PEP replaced the Grade Six Achievement Test as the national secondary-school placement test.

The main objective of PEP is to enhance the academic and critical -thinking capabilities and creativity of students by the end of primary- level education. Students entering grade six in September 2018 comprised the first PEP cohort. There were 37 scholarship recipients and 10 Gateway Bursary awardees who received prizes courtesy of Gateway Co-operative Credit Union at the awards ceremony.