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Jamaicans dominate CSEC vocational subjects rankings

Published:Tuesday | December 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

Jamaican students have dominated the technical and vocational subjects in the recent Caribbean Examinations Council exams, with many of the island's students outclassing their regional contemporaries to secure top-10 places in these subjects.

Subjects such as food and nutrition, building technology (construction), mechanical engineering, and electrical and electronic technology, at both the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE), had more than five Jamaican students being placed in the top 10.

In fact, in both units of CAPE food and nutrition, Jamaican students swept the top 10, and 11 students, some tying, copped a spot in the top 10 for construction.

It is for this reason HEART Trust/NTA officials say they will be expanding their programmes to offer more appealing courses to the these top students.

Denworth Finnikin, senior director for workforce development and employment at the trust, responding to questions from The Gleaner yesterday, said more students should be encouraged to pursue technical and vocational subjects at the secondary level.

He said, "The probability of accessing high-quality technical jobs is increased through the pursuit of technical and vocational skills."

Fredrick Haughton, vice-principal in charge of upper school at Herbert Morrison Technical High, supported this view.

PLACE GREATER VALUE ON THEM

Haughton said the time had come for the country to start placing more value on these subject areas and start talking about the value these can add to the society.

"A whole lot more focus needs to be placed on the practical areas. What is unfortunate is that a lot of the persons who devise policies in education think about the academics only because most of them come from really academic backgrounds," Haughton added.

He said the mindset that vocational education is for only a "certain set" needs to be changed - and quickly, too.

"The technical, vocational, along with the maths and English, are all important," he said.

jermaine.francis@gleanerjm.com