Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (FP)????

A challenge has gone out to a public secondary school to attain higher per cent passes between Grades 1 and 3 in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, made this call last evening, while addressing the 2009 graduands at the Christ Church Foundation School’s Speech Day and Prize-giving ceremony.

He said: "This year you have achieved 41.4 per cent passes at Grades 1and 2 and 35.2 percent at Grade 3.?? The challenge for the school is to lift the Grades 1 and 2 to over 50 percent and to improve your Grade 3 passes, so that over the next three years you would be operating with passes between Grades 1 and 3 of 90 per cent, and with student commitment and focus, and teacher application, this is very achievable."

Under the theme "Providing Quality Education in the Twenty-first Century", Mr. Jones told those in attendance that the theme which had been chosen as the focus of his address was one which had been and is still being discussed the world over.??

"Every nation is concerned about the quality of the educational offerings in our schools, colleges and universities.?? This is being done against the background of the rapidity of change which currently engulfs the world and which will continue to be present for decades to come.?? Educational countries and systems, particularly those which have satisfied the quantitative demands for classroom space, must reorient the system towards the provision of quality education," he contended.

The Minister also lauded the efforts of the Principal, Robert Cumberbatch, and his staff, noting that the school had continued its tradition of academic excellence.??

"I wish to note your average percentage in the various subject areas this year stood at 73.1 per cent across the fifth years and 76.7 per cent when the fourth years were added to the matrix," he said.

The Education Minister acknowledged that he was aware of the pass rate being over 90 percent in English A, Information Technology General, and Social Studies, as well as outstanding performances in areas such as Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, Food and Nutrition, Office Administration, Electronic Document Preparation Management, Integrated Science, Human and Social Biology and Information Technology Technical.

Mr. Jones also observed that students today were arriving in the classroom with advanced skills and understandings, particularly in the area of technology.?? He, therefore, urged educators to make the requisite changes for them (students) that would be in keeping with their levels of development.

"The last 10 years have seen the standard in education improve, the quality of teachers at all levels get better, and investment in buildings, Information Technology and resources increase.?? However, in our changing context, the old models of education born of the industrial age make little sense.?? If we want to help our young people to become the adults they will need to be to thrive in the 21st century, we need not just to adapt, but to transform," he charged.

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