Jamaica achieves perfect score in secondary enrollment
Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has indicated that Jamaica will this year hit the 100 per cent mark in the number of students completing a secondary-level education.
"This year, 100 per cent of all of our children, up from 15 per cent 53 years ago, will have the opportunity of a five-year education at the secondary level in Jamaica," he said.
According to the national socio-demographic profile of Jamaica published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the net enrolment ratio in secondary education in 2013 stood at 68.9 per cent. The percentage for female enrolment was recorded at 71.3 per cent, while male enrolment stood at 66.5 per cent in that same year.
Speaking with The Gleaner, Thwaites said that the secondary enrolment figure was at 100 per cent given that most students have been placed in the regular five-year high school programme even as the ministry seeks to phase out the all-age and junior-high system.
"Up to last year, we still placed a number of students in the all-age school, where they ended at 15 years. We also placed a fairly large cohort in the junior secondary school, which is supposed to transition them into high school, but sometimes it did not. This year, we have placed no students in the all-age schools ... and we have placed far less than ever before in the junior-high schools. We have placed 90 per cent of students in high schools because we want everyone to have the benefit of a five-year education," he said.
Thwaites made the announcement of the increase in enrolment while speaking at the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Golden Torch Award, where he lauded teachers for their service.
"The material rewards and the emotional satisfaction of today and other such occasions are superseded by the spiritual wealth on display here and in the far-flung classrooms. We have much to do, although much has been achieved," he said to the teachers.
Thwaites also noted that the advances that have been made have been achieved through bipartisanship.
"Education in Jamaica is beyond partisan scrapping. It is so important. We will have our differences of opinion, but I am pleased that over the time that I have been minister, the relationship between the governing party and the opposition party in respect of education policy and practice has been a healthy one."