Extension of high school only applicable to students in need of academic support
The Ministry of Education has indicated that the extension of the period of secondary schooling, which was announced by Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid, will only be applicable to students who need further academic and skills training support after completing fifth form.
"The additional two years of schooling will be applicable only to those students who need this support to sufficiently develop their skills and acquire the qualification to leave the secondary system," a release from the ministry stated.
In its release, the ministry indicated that these students currently drop out of the system because of inadequate preparation to enter the world of work or to pursue higher education.
Under the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education (APSE) programme launched last week, students in need of support will receive work-ready training that will equip them with the tools to enter the workforce. The training will be delivered through the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), National Apprenticeship Programme and the Occupational Supervisory Certification.
APSE is designed to cater to the different needs of all students, particularly those who do not advance to the traditional sixth-form programme.
The education ministry said that at grades 12 and 13, students will have the opportunity, through CAP 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 an opportunity to pursue a career to meet their specific needs.
The ministry has said consultations have begun on the implementation of the seven-year period.
Consultations were previously conducted islandwide in 2010 and 2011 when the extension of the period of secondary schooling was first mooted.
"Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean met last Friday in Kingston with education partners in the CAP, which is the overall programme that will allow for several opportunities for students to remain in school at grades 12 and 13," the ministry said in its release.