Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Holness wants end to school placement based on GSAT

Published:Thursday | March 20, 2014 | 5:46 PM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Opposition leader Andrew Holness is calling for an end to placement of students in high schools based on their Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores.

He says the test has, in effect, been used as a means of rationing out scarce preferred places in the secondary education system.

He says this defeats the objective of education being the vehicle of social mobility for all and places intense and unjust pressure on children and their parents.

Holness says it is time for the system to be changed as it actually reinforces social and economic inequalities rather than serving as a catalyst for social transformation.

He says he will be tabling questions on the matter in Parliament shortly.

The Opposition leader's comments come as primary school children completed the first of the two-day GSAT.

Forty-thousand-six-hundred-and-seventy-six students were registered to sit the exams this year.

Students sat the Social Studies and Mathematics paper today.

Language Arts, Communication Task and Science papers are scheduled for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, says as of next year the GSAT will undergo structural changes, which will see students doing more critical thinking, rather than memorising texts.

He says next year the Science and the Social Studies papers will have fewer questions, and the body of information covered by students will be less.

Meanwhile, Earlier today some students in the Corporate Area admitted that they felt pressured to secure a place in traditional high schools.

Samoya Solomon of Dunrobin Primary says she felt pressured to get high grades as her siblings all went to traditional schools.

One parent who spoke with our newscentre said she felt as though she was also sitting the exams.

And the only major issue reported by the education ministry involved 13 students in Montego Bay, St James who turned up for the exam although they were not registered.

The Ministry says they were accommodated.


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