Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
In the next three years, the over 200-year-old Jamaica College is set to regain its former title as the number one secondary school in the island.
At least, that is the plan the school's principal, Ruel Reid, said he has for the illustrious institution.
Reid said since he took over the mantle as headmaster at Jamaica College in 2006, he has been working assiduously to return the Old Hope Road, St Andrew, boys' school to its former glory as the island's premier academic centre.
"For me, Jamaica College had lost its position as a top-performing school. So now we have a transformation plan to get the school to really perform at its peak, and we are trying to get 100 per cent pass in every subject that we do," Reid noted.
He said contrary to recent reports, such as the educatejamaica.org research which suggested that only a little over 29 per cent of Jamaica College pupils are graduating with five are more subjects, including English and math, the institution is already on track to achieving this ambitious target.
Pointing to this year's results in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams, Reid said the students are already performing above his set targets in the two core subjects, mathematics and English language.
He said his mandate for these subjects this year was to get 70 per cent of the cohort passing math and 90 per cent attaining grades 1-3 in English. However, he noted that for the 2013 CSEC exams, 82 per cent of those sitting math were successful and 91 per cent of the cohort attained a passing grade in English.
In addition to these core subjects, Reid expressed that the school is also allotting a significant portion of its resources towards improving critical areas in science and technology.
"We have targeted the sciences and technology and we actually have six computer labs and six science labs. We've also been doing a lot in information ad communication technologies (ICT), robotics and aviation," Reid said.
He added: "For the last five years, the school has been getting a 100 per cent pass in information technology, and this year, 67 per cent of the cohort received a grade one in the subject."
However, he said, as it relates to science subjects, such as chemistry, physics and biology, a lot more needs to be done.
"I am not satisfied with where my sciences are, so I'm working on that. But part of the challenge is that we are getting kids who have a very weak science background, which reflects the weaknesses in sciences in Jamaica and the region. We can't get good science teachers at all," Reid said.
He said what the school has now embarked on doing is to target students in first to third form and inculcate a love and appreciation for the sciences, before they get to upper school.
Reid said the strong focus on the sciences and technology is to equip the boys with the necessary skills to grasp the burgeoning opportunities in these areas.
"It's an all-male school, so we try to give them a broad curriculum. We also have programmes with the Caribbean Maritime Institute, where we are trying to get our youngsters prepared for the emerging occupations."
Reid said this is why the institution continues to do exceptionally well in areas such as aviation, robotics, and mechanics, and not just the traditional subject areas.