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??Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones

Secondary education in Barbados is expected to get a much needed boost with the introduction of two additional sixth form schools from September this year.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, reiterated his Government’s pledge that imminent action in the provision of secondary education would soon come on stream at The St. Michael and Foundation Schools.????????

He made these comments yesterday evening at the Opening Ceremony for the 10th Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administrators (ACHEA) Annual Conference, under the theme: The Paradigm Shift in Higher Education: A Time for Action, at the Roy Marshall Teaching Centre, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Stating that the sixth form level of education in the island’s system was like the bridge between secondary and tertiary/higher education, the Education Minister told those gathered that creating capacity within secondary schools would provide additional places for other students who wished to commence their tertiary level education and reduce the jostling for enrolment at the tertiary institutions.

Pointing out that another immediate initiative at this ???bridging stage’ of higher education was in the area of curriculum reform – known as Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs), which is competency based qualifications, Mr. Jones said: "Training for these qualifications would be delivered in all secondary schools across the island eventually… as early as September, 2011 at least four schools will be ready to start; these are: St. Lucy Secondary School, St. Leonard’s Boys’ School, St. George Secondary School, and Princess Margaret Secondary School.?? Of this selection, the St. Lucy Secondary School has taken the lead in being declared as a centre for assessment," the Minister indicated.

Among the first disciplines to be assessed in these schools/centres are: Masonry, Electrical Installation, Carpentry, and Cosmetology, with training already beginning in some of the schools identified.

Minister Jones stressed that one of the advantages of the CVQ assessment is that students were assessed only when they have displayed sufficient competence in the skill they are pursuing. "The qualifications move through levels 1 to 4 with level 4 being equivalent to a Master’s degree," he said.

He added that the Ministry of Education continues to provide annual scholarships and exhibitions to deserving Barbadian students in keeping with their performance in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations and last year a total of 53 scholarships and exhibitions were awarded.??

tblackman@barbados.gov.bb

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