October 28, 2020

SCHOOLS SHAKE UP: Kids must pass before graduation

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Education representatives, (L-R): John Gray High School Principal Lyneth Monteith, Minister of Education Rolston Anglin, Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues, and Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler.

A major shake up in the schools system was announced by Minister of Education, the Hon. Rolston Anglin.

It will mean an end to the current “diplomas for all” factory which allows all students to graduate regardless of academic ability.

Now pupils will have to pass exams in order to succeed at school – rather than being judged solely on behaviour and attendence.

The first change means that government high school students graduating from June 2014 onwards will have to demonstrate academic ability before they receive their high school diplomas

The new initiative will mean that all students who wish to obtain a graduation diploma at the end of compulsory education will also be expected to meet a minimum academic standard.

Mr Anglin, explained the importance of this new development.

He said: “These criteria have been long awaited by our business and education communities. They are a clear indication of my commitment to raise the standards of education in these islands. It’s not good enough to merely turn up and behave moderately well to gain a High School Diploma. Modern society requires a minimum skill level, even at the most basic entry level of employment, and hence our criteria must reflect such requirements.

“These criteria also reflect my continued commitment to encouraging lifelong learning – what I like to term second chances. Within these criteria are opportunities to accumulate the minimum academic standard over time, not just at one sitting.”

Mr. Anglin added the ministry was also developing ways in which adult learners who had missed out while at school would have another opportunity to gain their high school diploma.

Education Ministry Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues, said: “The new graduation criteria are the fruit of much debate and the contributions of a special Ministerial committee by key stakeholders, chaired by the Chief Education Officer, Mrs Shirley Wahler. We owe them our thanks. This is a huge milestone for the Government Education System and will help prepare our young people more effectively for the future.”

The new graduation criteria are designed to be within the reach of special education needs students studying within mainstream education at the high schools. Students within the Lighthouse School will continue to have a separate graduation and work will continue on a Special Diploma to recognise their achievements.

Within the new system, three different grades of diploma, dubbed Level 1, Level 2 and Level 2 with Honours, will reflect ascending tiers of academic achievement. Competence in both maths and English will be stressed as key criteria for all levels of diploma, Mr. Anglin said.

Another major change, the introduction of a National Qualifications Framework, is aimed at providing employers along with other education stakeholders with a more easily understood and more consistent system for evaluating and comparing qualifications.

Education Minister Rolston Anglin presents 13-year old Zachary Kelly with a description of the criteria required for the new “Level 2” high school diploma.

“Do CXC and GCSE qualifications have equal value? How does a BTEC qualification compare to an IGCSE pass? What does a COEA qualification mean and what skill levels do persons with these passes possess? We’re constantly faced with these questions,” Mr. Anglin said. “It’s important that everyone in the community understands how qualifications are ranked and rated and how they match up to skills and knowledge levels. The

Cayman Islands Qualifications Framework (CIQF) will assist with all this.”

The new framework slots qualifications with different titles into one of six categories ranging from “Entry Level” to “Level 5”

Entry Level is for Year 4/5 students, and includes COEA, and ASDAN Bronze Award qualifications.

Level 1 includes all the qualifications typically taken at school year 7/8 and including CXC CSEC Grades IV-VI, BTEC Level 1, as well as the new Cayman Islands Level 1 High School Diploma

Level 2 will include CXC CSEC Grades I-III, GCSE/IGCSE Grades A-C, GED, BTEC Level 2 (Firsts) and the new Cayman Islands Level 2 High School Diploma.

Level 3 will include A levels, BTEC level 3 and Associate Degrees.

Levels 4 and 5 will correspond to bachelors and post-graduate degrees respectively.

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