Career & Education

Government to pay for 8 CSEC subjects for PATH students

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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The Government has announced that it will pay examination fees for up to eight CSEC subjects for students on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) who qualify to sit the subjects.

The announcement was made by Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, youth and information, on Tuesday while addressing the graduation ceremony at Guy's Hill High School in St Catherine.

Minister Reid says students on PATH will also receive five days' lunch money, up from three days, valued at $150 per day. PATH students will also receive an allocation of $2,000 each to cover school registration costs for identification and insurance.

As he delivered the keynote address, Minister Reid also revealed that Guy's Hill High will receive an allocation of $20 million under the Government's tuition-free policy.

He said the Government had already made six payments under the policy, which allocates some $3.9 billion to secondary schools.

Beyond funds, however, Senator Reid called for a deeper infusion of the right values and attitudes into education, if the country is to effectively reduce violence.

The minister underscored that education without values is meaningless.

“If you're not careful, even those who have benefited from education could fall prey [to criminality],” he underlined. “To think that your education is for you to pursue criminal enterprises; for you to buy guns and ammunition for the gunmen; to sell illicit products.” he said.

“I'm saying all of this because there is a need for good values: values of honesty, values of respect, values of excellence, value of life…” he sermonised.

His comments came as the country fights an upsurge in murders, especially in Western Jamaica. Murders are up in one parish by as much as 1,000 per cent and have doubled in others.

Minister Reid said that if wholesome “values and attitudes” are not made to complement efforts to transform the education system, then schools will churn out undisciplined students.

“What then would be the value and purpose of education?” he questioned.

He urged graduates to become change agents and to make a difference by exerting positive influences over their peers.

Similarly, chairperson of the graduation ceremony, Carlene Edwards, sponsorship and events manager, JN Bank, reminded the graduates that the difference they will make in their spheres will be based on the nurturing and caring they received while at Guy's Hill High School.

Underscoring Guy's Hill High's propensity for developing dignity, Miss Edwards, a former prefect and student council president, urged graduates to be confident, bold and different as they make their journey towards higher education and into the world of work.

“Believe me when I say the seeds of confidence sown here will make you stand out from others; it will make you certain of who are and what you can accomplish,” the Guy's Hill alumni told graduates.

“As our first National Hero Marcus Garvey said, without confidence you are twice defeated in this race we call life. Therefore, to make a difference, young men and young ladies of Guys Hill, you will have to be bold, and to be bold you will have to be confident in who you are and what you can accomplish,” Edwards affirmed.

Some 110 students graduated from the institution on Tuesday.

Principal Joan Davis highlighted that the rural school, which caters to some 1,200 students from the parishes of St Mary, St Catherine and St Ann, achieved 100 per cent passes in various subjects in the 2016 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. The pass rate for English increased to 64 per cent over 2015, with one student receiving the National Child Month Scholarship for outstanding performance in the exams.

Davis noted that the school has been encouraging students to sit some CSEC subjects from as early as third form, and pointed out that one of two students who did last year passed three subjects, earning two grade ones and a grade three.

At the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (CAPE) level, the school has also been performing well, the principal reported. She said 100 per cent of the cohort passed communication studies, Caribbean studies, entrepreneurship, environmental studies, management of business, physical education and sports, sociology, and tourism. The average pass for all CAPE examinations was 84 per cent.

“We are very proud of our achievement,” Davis declared Tuesday.

“Our vision is for our students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who will be able to make meaningful contributions to Jamaica and beyond in this ever-changing world,” she concluded.

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