The Ministry of Education on (December 1) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom-based International City and Guilds of London Institute, to enhance the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) through the provision of examinations, primarily in literacy and numeracy.
Under the three-year MoU, City and Guilds, through its local office, commits to providing examinations across all stages of literacy and numeracy, in addition to mutually agreed upon support.
At the signing ceremony held at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices, former Permanent Secretary, Audrey Sewell, explained that the aim is to provide the students with options for recognised qualifications, other than those provided by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
“So, we looked at the City and Guilds and what they have to offer, and we thought that this exam would suit their needs because…they (students) can do different parts (of the syllabus) and get their overall certification at the end. We have recognised the diversity in terms of learning styles, learning rates; and so, we are seeking to have responses that will address the differences that we have amongst our learners,” Mrs. Sewell said.
The examinations will be administered at the 75 centres designated for CAP islandwide, in which approximately 12,000 are currently enrolled. The centres comprise public and private high schools, and a few other private institutions.
City and Guilds’ representative in Jamaica, Marva Duncanson, informed that students will be given mock exams so that they can be efficiently streamed to be entered at the level appropriate to their readiness, to write an exam.
“We will continue to provide support, by way of student presentations, to ensure that students are appraised about City and Guilds and that adequate tutorial material are given to the teachers within the system, so that each teacher has a proper syllabus and a clear understanding of the structure of the exams,” she outlined.
In return, Mrs. Duncanson said, the Ministry has assured that a minimum of 8,000 candidates will be entered for each of the three years of the agreement, to sit exams. “We actually started …we delivered examinations this year,” she informed.
“In 2010, we embarked on a pilot project with the Ministry, and at that time, 2,000 students were assessed. In July of 2011, some 4,000 students sat the exams and I am pleased to say that 58 per cent of the students, who wrote exams in July, were certified in Mathematics and English. We think (that is) quite a significant achievement and we are only looking forward to greater and better results going forward,” she stated.
Acting Permanent Secretary, Grace McLean, in welcoming the partnership, pointed out that City and Guilds’ provisions will greatly enhance the technical and vocational component of CAP.
She also said “we will ensure that we deliver on time, and we will also ensure, working with our City and Guilds local office that we have our students properly prepared, so that they can do well in these exams and we can also put them on that path where they can advance their careers”.
Director of City and Guilds International, Mike Dawe, in also welcoming the partnership, expressed the hope that the undertaking would be mutually beneficial and longstanding. “Our hope is that we will extend the partnership with the Ministry in the future, so that, together we can improve the life’s chances of the young people in Jamaica,” Mr. Dawe said.
City and Guilds Institute is one of the oldest examination boards in the UK, whose certifications are globally recognised. CAP, which was launched in 2010, aims to ensure that students leaving secondary schools, who have not attained the requisite literacy and numeracy qualifications, are so equipped, and have some degree of technical and vocational qualifications for post-secondary placement. Additionally, it extends by two years, the period they spend at the high school level.