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Students not making the grade

NASSAU — Nearly 50 per cent of seniors at government high schools do not meet the requirements to graduate with a diploma, and are instead awarded leaving certificates, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.

This follows a trend observed in recent years.

Fitzgerald’s comments came at a press conference at the Ministry of Education where results of the 2012 Bahamas Junior Certificate and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education exams were revealed.

“We know on average that we’re to the point now where I think almost 50 per cent of our students in the government schools are not graduating,” Fitzgerald said. “They get a leaving certificate.”

He also said the ministry has to revamp its curriculum to include a career path stream that would accommodate students in vocational fields of study, and help them compete in today’s job market.

“The curriculum is based on producing academics and those in professional fields,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not been geared or re-engineered as it has around the world to deal with children … who have interests other than being professionals [such as] lawyers, teachers, doctors, engineers and so on.

“That’s why we’re introducing the career path which would put them on a path in areas they are interested in, and suit them where they can use their minds and their hands.

“This is a phenomenon that’s happening around the world and we have just moved slowly in implementing it in our high schools.

“We now have to pick up the pace to make sure that we prepare our young people for the jobs that are available out there for them, because they are leaving high school not graduating and not with any skills to move into the workforce, which has put them at a serious disadvantage.”

Fitzgerald also said his ministry would work to ensure that students leave high school with reading and math skills at least “at the ninth grade level” and add more preschools to the public school system. (Nassau Guardian)

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