Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Under current trends, it would take Jamaica until 2025 before 60 per cent of school leavers are able to attain five or more passes in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), according to research conducted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI).
The research project, titled 'Prisms of Possibility: A Report Card on Education in Jamaica', and presented at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday, found that currently 47 per cent of students sit fewer than four subjects, while only 53 per cent are sitting four and more.
Addressing the presentation ceremony, CaPRI's lead researcher, Dawn Sewell-Lawson, said the country would have to take stock of its education system if it is serious about reaching the goal of having 60 per cent of students passing at least five CSECs by 2015.
She asked: "We have set a target … but a simple look at the statistics shows that we don't even have 60 per cent sitting that many subjects. How then do we expect to reach this 2015 target?"
The research also revealed that while Jamaica continues to invest heavily in education, the school system continues to turn out a significant number of students who have not been able to attain any form of certification.
"About three-quarters of economically active age group 15- 59 have no form of certification. Even though our students are completing secondary schools, unfortunately we are going in like Johnny cake and coming out like dumplings," Sewell-Lawson said.
She added that when researchers looked at persons who were educated right up to the secondary level, some 25 per cent of that group alone had no form of certification.
"So think about how this is compounding year on top of year. One out of four students is leaving every year with no form of certification, so within another 10 years, if we continue on this trend, we are heading into trouble. (We need) to act and look at certifying that economically active population," she said.
The research was carried out over the period 2008-2010.