Equip students for the digital world - Ruel Reid
Minister of Education Ruel Reid is urging educators to be proactive in preparing students for an increasingly digital world.
"In this day of Instagram and cloud storage, we must ensure that students receive effective tools to deal with the new digital global realities," he said, while speaking at the launch of the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education (APSE) programme last week.
Reid argued that there is need to guard against the impacts of professions that have become obsolete because of digitisation.
"For instance, many mechanics have been left behind as more and more, the work of mechanics has become the work of computer scientists. We must guard against this by being proactive in our curriculum and embracing the new frontiers of learning."
In preparation for the job displacement associated with increased automation, Reid challenged students to select their career path as early as possible in order to be placed on one of the pathways defined in the APSE programme.
According to Reid, "The new approach will see all students at the secondary level under the compulsory education policy being placed on a path to complete at least seven years at the secondary level or up to age 18. The pathways will allow for students to identify their careers at an early stage and progress through the system, selecting the track that will get them there."
APSE will provide students with work-ready training that will equip them with the tools to survive in the digital economy. The training will be delivered through the Career Advancement Programme, the National Apprenticeship Programme, and the Occupational Supervisory Certification programme.
The education minister explained that at grades 12 and 13, students will have the opportunity through the Career Advancement Programme to move into the traditional sixth-form programme or a technical sixth-form programme, which will also include opportunities under the National Apprenticeship programme. In addition, those students will also have the opportunity to pursue a career to meet their specific needs.
"It will also become mandatory for all students to participate in the National Corps Service programme, which is a programme where students will learn the spirit of volunteerism and basic employability skills to allow for them to transition into adulthood," Reid added.
Under APSE, exit certifications have been extended to include the Caribbean Vocational Qualification, the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica, and City and Guilds; in addition to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination.