The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has set up a committee to conduct a feasibility study for introduction of a new model for the state middle secondary school structure and curriculum.
When launching the committee on 13th April, Minister Joel Morgan said that emphasis will be on setting up Centres of Excellence, whilst taking into consideration the principles of comprehensive education and learner diversity enshrined in Education Act (2004) and other policy frameworks.
The proposal for a revised model for the structure and curriculum for secondary schools was endorsed by Cabinet in January 2017.
Also with due consideration to the 5-year National Human Resource Development Strategy, the imminent reform essentially seeks to address serious shortcomings at the national level, including the reduction in number of students qualifying to sit IGCSE examinations, increase in drop-outs from Professional Centre (post-secondary institutions), persistent low numbers of teachers graduating from SITE, high cost of expatriate employment and related issues (especial in secondary and post-secondary), amongst others.
Thus, the envisaged reform will include the establishment of three credible learning pathways at the middle secondary (S4-S5) level as follows:
i) An Academic Pathway or Centre of Excellence for students with a strong academic base, who will most likely continue their academic education at the level of the School of Advanced Level Studies (SALS) on successful completion of the programme.
ii) A Technical Vocational Education and Training Pathway or Centre of Excellence for students with a strong academic base and interest in the technical and vocational fields of study, who will most likely continue their education and training at the level of the Professional Centres.
The students will have the opportunity to follow relevant selected international technically oriented programmes and sit international examinations in these subjects.
iii) A General Secondary Education Pathway for students who do not meet the entry requirements for the academic pathway and the technical and vocational education and training pathway mentioned above.
Drawing on experience from the implementation process of the 2009 reform, the proposal recognises the importance of undertaking a proper feasibility study of the various parameters likely to have an impact on the implementation of the model – a process which has been approved by Cabinet.
Thus, the setting up of this Feasibility Study Committee that will:
i) address the enabling factors that will likely impact on the successful implementation of key parameters of the proposed reform,
ii) undertake a related situational analysis and produce a Plan of Activities inclusive of costs, time-frames, targets, potential risks and interventions, to successfully address the enabling factors.
The ensuing report with recommendations will be submitted to the Minister for Education by the end of August 2017, in time for consideration in the preparation of the 2018 budget.
The Feasibility Study Committee comprises representatives from various sectors, including from the Ministry of Education and its constituents and agencies, other ministries, their constituents and relevant agencies, the private sector and other individual experts in education who are conversant with the past and present education and training systems.
This new development is in line with the Education Sector Medium Term Strategy Plan 2013-2017 and Beyond’s call for a Roadmap for Further Transformation of the Education Process to Achieve Quality Lifelong Education for All and Improve National Sustainable Development.
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