Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites says the performance of many students from non-traditional high schools in Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations demonstrates that every child can excel, regardless of the institution in which they are placed.
Thwaites was speaking at the National CXC Awards ceremony at St George's College last Friday to recognise students for their outstanding performance in the 2012 examinations.
"I was so happy when I looked at the programme to see the number of so-called 'new schools' and non-traditional high schools that have received awards, and I want to tell you that statistics show that some of these 'new schools' are doing as well as the traditional high schools and even better," he said.
Over 20 per cent of non-traditional high schools received top CXC awards at the national awards ceremony.
"I encourage all of you to grow where you are planted. A school that has the highest GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) passes is expected to do well. All we ask is that we work with those students who receive the lowest grades so that they, too, can achieve satisfactory standards. We have to work together," Thwaites said.
PLEASED WITH PERFORMANCES
Similarly, Sharon Reid, president of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, said that she is hopeful that all schools will soon achieve satisfactory standards.
"In the association, we have blurred the lines. We are all high schools, and I'm just pleased and elated that we have persons being awarded from all types of schools across the island," Reid said.
She added: "Some schools might have better facilities than others, but the fact is we have excellent teachers and students in all schools."
Reid also pointed out that she is in full support of schools receiving students with both high and low grades.
"We have no objection to the minister's suggestion of mixing the students. What we say is: Ensure that wherever the children are placed, the facilities are there, the necessary teachers are there to help the child, whether the child is challenged or the child is gifted," said Reid.
She added: "We need to be able to meet the needs of every child. It is for us to work together to see the education system being transformed."