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Thwaites emphasises quality over quantity of subjects

Published:Thursday | March 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites.

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites is cautioning students sitting external exams to not put quantity over quality.

Speaking at the recent National Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) awards ceremony put on by the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, Thwaites questioned if it was prudent for students to simply complete a barrage of subjects, or strive to be rounded students who are capable of functioning in the society.

Thwaites queried: "What is the meaning of the quantum of subjects that so many have achieved ... does this make for the rounded, multi-competent Jamaican person who we want, who the economy needs and who the world craves their services?"

While lauding the awardees for their stellar performance, Thwaites noted that despite the large number of subjects that several students have mastered, tertiary institutions were, "concerned that very often, despite the high grades, there still is the need for remedial work".

"We have to challenge ourselves to the roundedness, that multi-competency person who the world requires of us," the minister said.

Noting that tertiary education was no longer an option if one is to adequately grasp the job opportunities available across the globe, Thwaites challenged the awardees to think critically about the programmes they decide to pursue as they go on to further their studies.

"Be very careful of the careers you choose and the subjects that you advance at the tertiary level, because so many are qualifying themselves in subjects [that are in] very little demand in the labour market," he told the students.

School fees

The minister said students should also begin to think about how they will be funding their tertiary education, so that they can balance the assistance from the state with their own contributions.

He said it was the goal of the Government to double the number of students completing post-secondary studies, in the next five years. There are an estimated 75,000 students currently engaged in some form of tertiary study on the island.

Close to 400 awards were distributed at the function for excellence in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examin-ation (CAPE).

Veronna Hanley of decarteret College in Manchester was named the best overall performer in CSEC, while St Andrew's Campion College was named the top school in the island.