Careers & Education

PTA backs move to reduce spending on students sitting CSEC exams

BY DENISE DENNIS Career & Education staff reporter

Sunday, September 16, 2012    

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THE National Parent-Teachers' Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) has thrown its support behind the Ministry of Education, following its announced move to reduce financial aid for students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.

Shortly after the poor CSEC results were revealed last month, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites was reported in one local newspaper as saying that payments for the exams were being wasted.

This, as students were either not properly prepared or were otherwise failing to turn up on the day of the exams. As such, he said the ministry would analyse the situation to ensure that only deserving students received assistance in the coming academic year.

NPTAJ president Everton Hannam said he trusts that the ministry would have done their analysis and found that monies were not being efficiently used.

"Therefore, they would want to reallocate the funds and also want to address [the situation] of money being paid that is not being utilised. If it's against that background that they are going to readjust it and fine-tune it, then we'll support [the decision]," Hannam said.

He added that he does not think persons who are prepared and sufficiently qualified to sit the CSEC exams will be negatively affected. However, Hannam insisted that those who have not fulfilled a certain requirement should not be allowed to sit the exam at a cost to the Government.

"If you have a sum that is not being [adequately] used in any budget or in any institution, you'll want to find where the loophole is and then stop that gap and re-allocate and re-adjust whatsoever is not being done efficiently," he insisted.

Acting permanent secretary in the ministry Grace McLean has sought to clarify that no changes will be made to the level of assistance provided to persons sitting the exams next year. However, she said a review process will commence during this academic year to determine what changes will be made to how assistance is provided to students sitting the exams.

In 2010, McLean said a review was done to change the way the assistance was perceived from being a subsidy to being an incentive, requiring a student to achieve a certain grade in order to qualify for the assistance.

"Based on that, we ran it in 2011 and also in 2012 and so it is the opportune time for another review and then we decide how we move from there," she told Career & Education.

McLean added that she could not comment on any possible changes before the review was completed.



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