Schools failing, another report shows
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
Yet another report is indicating that the nation's schools are failing miserably at producing enough graduates to meet the basic requirements to enter the job market or to matriculate into tertiary institutions.
With most employers, sixth forms and tertiary institutions demanding that students pass at least five subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level, only 41 of 161 state-operated high schools across the island have managed to ensure more than 50 per cent of their cohort meet this demand.
This is according to the education think tank, EducateJamaica.org, which caused a stir last year with a similar report.
Ainsworth Darby, chairman of EducateJamaica.org, told The Gleaner that the report which ranks schools according to their performance in the 2013 CSEC exams, was in no way seeking to cast aspersions on those institutions that are failing to hit the mark.
He said the report was compiled to better inform parents, and by extension the wider public, as to which schools should be getting the requisite attention.
"Our main objective is for schools to improve. When schools see where they are ranked, this will compel them to try and do better," Darby said.
He explained that accurate information on where schools ranked should not be viewed negatively, as it can be a useful tool to also pinpoint those schools that are in need of the most assistance.
Based on the all-island rankings, perennial top-performer Immaculate Conception High, in St Andrew, was ranked at number one with 100 per cent of its cohort passing five or more subjects. Robert Lightbourne High, in St Thomas, came in at the bottom of the list after failing to produce any student that managed to get five or more subjects.
Defending the accuracy of the data used in the rankings, Darby said the information provided by the Ministry of Education was cross-checked with each school and only then were they included on the list.
"We wrote to each school, showing the information we got from the ministry and asked them to indicate if the information was inaccurate and, if so, they should provide us with their own data," Darby explained.
He said this process also revealed that the data being used in the ministry is at times different from that being used by schools, as some of the institutions indicated different results compared to the ministry.
"What we found is that the ministry's data is sometimes incorrect, which in effect is not reflecting the true picture of what is going on in some schools," Darby said.
He explained that the think tank also stayed away from looking at only those students who sat the exams, but focused instead on the number of students who were eligible to sit the exams in their final year.
"We looked at each school and calculated what percentage of students they are turning out at the end of grade 11, with a minimum of five CSEC subjects, including mathematics and/or English, and based on the percentage obtained, that's how they are ranked."
1 Immaculate Conception High 100% 2 Campion College 99.5% 3 St Hilda's Diocesan High 98.84% 4 Hampton High 97.7% 5 Mount Alvernia High 97.66% 6 Wolmer's Girls School 96.9% 7 Westwood High 95.21% 8 Glenmuir High 95.14% 9 DeCarteret College 94.4%10 St Andrew High School for Girls 92.9%
152 Islington High 2.6%153 Penwood High 2.6%154 Grange Hill High 2.4%155 Cumberland High 2.2%156 Hopewell High 2%157 Denham Town High 1.7%158 Paul Bogle High 1.5%159 Innswood High 0.9%160 Trench Town High 0.8%161 Robert Lightbourne High 0%