THE number of passes in most of the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) subjects taken by Jamaican students in June showed a downward trend, dropping to 61.8 per cent from 66.4 per cent last year, and 69.3 per cent in 2010.
All 22 subjects recorded a decrease in the number of persons passing with a grade one, two or three. Only 12 subjects recorded increases.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, speaking at a press conference last week, said the nation's teachers and the Government need to find out what caused the poor performances, which he described as shocking; especially in English and Mathematics.
He said the ministry is disappointed as the grades have made what he described as a very disastrous lurch downwards.
Only 46 per cent of candidates who took the English Language exam passed. This was in contrast to a 63.9 per cent pass rate last year and 64.9 per cent the previous year.
Mathematics passes also dropped, with 31.7 per cent of a cohort of 50,000 passing, down from 33.2 per cent in 2011, and significantly less than the 39.5 per cent pass rate in 2010.
Other subjects which recorded a significant drop in passes were Building Technology, both in construction and woodwork, which had a 70.2 and 60.2 per cent passes respectively, down from 84.7 and 71 per cent the previous year. In 2010, passes for those subjects were 85.8 per cent and 79.2 per cent.
Economics recorded a drop to 67.5 per cent from 77.6 per cent in 2011. Human and Social Biology also trended downwards, having a pass rate of 56.7 per cent; down from 64.4 in 2011 and 69.2 in 2010.
The same applied to Principles of Accounting; which recorded a 56.8 per cent pass rate this year. In 2011, the grades had increased from 65.9 per cent in 2010 to 69.7.
Visual and Theatre Arts were among the 12 subjects that recorded increased passes. Principles of Business, Physics, Physical
Education and Sport all recorded slight increases over last year's performances.
Mechanical Engineering Technology recorded significantly better passes of 68 per cent; up from 55 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, candidates who sat Integrated Science did better than last year's cohort with 78.2 per cent; up from 72 per cent, but still lower than the cohort of 2010 which had a 82.7 per cent pass rate.