OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has reiterated that he has a difficulty with the ranking of schools based on the recently released Caribbean Secondary Examination Council results.
He said that although he is proud of the schools that were ranked as the best, the ranking was unfair to other institutions.
"Is it fair to compare those whose GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) entrance are in excess of 70 and 80 per cent to those who are at 25 per cent?" he asked.
"I have a difficulty with this kind of ranking, not in order that we may conceal the truth of weaknesses and inadequacies, but because what we need to do is to reverse our value system regarding education. It is not the brightest who need the most attention; it is the weakest who must be helped," he told teachers attending the Jamaica Teachers' Association's 49th annual conference on Wednesday.
The report, he said ,will not enable the weakest to thrive but has embedded a sense of inadequacy, shame and disability among them.
"When we place them in a situation of 'moral what left', how do we expect them to respond on September morning when we have already baptised them as the dregs of the system," he said.
He further argued that it was not fair for new schools to be compared to well-established institutions with strong alumnus support.
"It's not a matter of levelling down; it's a matter of raising up," he pointed out.
"There are many other ways of testing success and competence with respect to the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council)," he added.
Also on Wednesday, the minister reiterated that the implementation of National Technical Vocational Education and Training (NTVET) programmes will be accommodated in all schools.
"All schools will be engaged in this; it is not optional anymore," he said, stating that the effort is for all students to leave school with at least one marketable skill.