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Government-assisted students urged to sit CSEC exams

Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 6:56 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) - With only a few weeks to go before the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations are administered, Education Minister Rev Ronald Thwaites is urging students receiving Government assistance to ensure that they are present for the exams.

He made the appeal during the dissemination session for the School-to-Work Transition Survey at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Friday.

The education minister lamented that each year as much as 20 per cent of registered students do not show up for the examinations even when Government assistance allows them to take the examinations for free.

“It is a reproach that after getting great assistance to pay for the examination fees in selected subjects, some 20 per cent of those who are entered don’t even bother to turn up for the examination… they are missing a great opportunity,” he said.

He noted that while the education sector is allotted at least 30 per cent of the recurrent budget, the resources are scarce and should be utilised efficiently.

“The Jamaican tax payers consistently offers to our students the opportunity of a good education, it is the zeal and intent of all those who pay tax that you the younger generation should do better and have better opportunities than we did,” he said.

The Government has been paying for students to sit mathematics, English Language, information technology, and a science subject in the CSEC exams since 2002.

In the meantime, the minister is reminding students that their prospects for career development increases with each academic qualification they obtain, and that sitting the examinations is therefore in their best interest.

He said that young people who underperform in schools or opt out of the education system prematurely are only lessening their chances of obtaining employment, as “there is no job named ‘anything’ again, if ever there was.”

The Education Minister used the opportunity to encourage students to “stay in school, pay attention and study hard.”

The School-to-Work Transition Survey highlighted that an estimated 269,000 or 35.5 per cent of Jamaican youth have successfully transitioned from School to Work. Another 310,000 or 41.0 per cent are still in transition and the remaining 23.5 per cent have not yet started the transition.

The survey shows that a higher proportion of males (41.6 per cent) than females (29.3 per cent) have transitioned, while a higher proportion of females (47.1 per cent) than males (35.5 per cent) are still in transition.

There is indication that education impacts the ability to transition, as the proportion of transited youth increases with educational attainment. Most transited youth did not have a smooth or direct transition (32.4 per cent), but instead experienced “spells of unemployment with or without spells of employment or activity” (38.7 per cent), the report says.

On average, it took 33 months to successfully transition from school to stable or satisfactory employment, with the average length of transition for females (33 months) being longer than their male counterparts (32 months).

Youth who were still in transition were largely unemployed (78.6 per cent) or inactive, non-students with future work aspirations (10.7 per cent). On average, youth who were in transition were in this stage for 68 months, almost three years longer than transited youth.

Disaggregated by wealth index quintiles, the data shows that in-transition youth from the poorest two quintiles had the longest current duration of transition. The current duration of transition declines from 73 months for the poorest quintile to 50 months for the wealthiest quintile.

The School-to-Work Transition Survey is a unique survey instrument that generates relevant labour market information on young people aged 15 to 29 years, including longitudinal information, and transition within the labour market.

The survey serves as a tool for demonstrating the increasingly tentative and indirect paths to decent and productive employment that today’s young men and women are facing.

The 2013 round of the survey was the second such survey to be conducted in Jamaica. The first was undertaken in 2006.

According to the 2012 population estimates, youth 15 to 29 years old in Jamaica account for 27.9 per cent of the total population.

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