Petrina Francis, Staff Reporter
Stacey Harris (right), a student of the University of the West Indies and tour guide, giving instructions to eager Holy Childhood High School students who were in attendance at the University of the West Indies' Research Day yesterday on the Mona campus. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Ena Barclay, yesterday welcomed Education Minister Andrew Holness' announcement that no child will be able to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) unless certified literate and numerate.
However, she noted that the necessary resources have to be provided if this initiative, which is to be implemented soon, is to bear fruit.
"This is a good move but we need to ensure that adequate facilities and resources are put in place so we can take the children to the level we want them before they leave primary school," Barclay told The Gleaner yesterday.
The education minister said on Tuesday that students who failed the Grade Four Literacy Test would be promoted to grade five, while teachers worked to help them advance their literacy. He said, however, that they would have to resit the grade four test even when they reached grade six.
"Until you can get the (classroom space that is needed), we need to handle this carefully so we don't put pressure on teachers, students and the system," said Barclay.
Amendment to Education Act
Opposition Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites moved the Private Member's Motion calling for an amendment to the Education Act and related regulations to ensure that mastery was achieved in each grade before promotion, as a norm in the public-school system.
Holness said he agreed with the suggestion in theory, but it was not possible.
Sylvester Anderson, president of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, said it would be a good thing to hold back students who do not achieve mastery.
"Because we have been graduating illiterate individuals," Anderson told The Gleaner.
He, however, noted that the necessary classroom space would have to be provided.
Forty per cent of students who sit the Grade Four Literacy Test do not achieve mastery.