Grade six students displaced by coronavirus restrictions will not sit the remaining components of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams but will be placed in secondary schools on a mix of current and past results.
At the same time, the Government has made a decision to continue online learning until July 3, with the physical reopening of schools set for September 7 to coincide with the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda, announced the latest developments against the backdrop of the impact COVID-19 has had on the education sector since Jamaica recorded its first case of the highly contagious virus on March 10.
The closure of schools followed three days later.
Samuda told a Jamaica House digital press conference yesterday that sixth-graders will be assessed using the Grade Four Numeracy and Literacy exams sat in 2018, the grade five performance task exams of 2019, as well as the ability test done in February this year.
Sixth-graders were yet to sit performance task, mathematics, language arts, and curriculum-based tests before the mass shuttering of schools.
“This year, we cannot do anything that will compromise the progress of our children, so we are going to use this technique,” he said.
While many schools in urban centres continue online classes, Samuda divulged yesterday that approximately 31,000 children could not participate because they had no Internet connection. He said the amenities were not available where they live.
According to Samuda, there are 238 schools in remote areas without Internet.
He said that the Government has entered into an arrangement with ReadyTV to provide Internet access to these communities in the coming weeks. He said at least 100 of the communities will be brought online in the next two weeks.
Samuda also announced that the Government would be distributing tablets to students beginning this month.
The education ministry has also directed schools to ensure that no one is left behind when schools reopen in September.
Schools have been asked to use the first three weeks to carry out a process of “assessment and learning”.
On sittings of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination, Samuda said that a final decision would be made at the next meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government.
He said that the Caribbean Examinations Council had proposed assessment for late June, July or September, October, with the administration of multiple-choice papers either online or paper based.
For City & Guilds, the proposal is to use calculated results, while for NCTVET, the recommendation is to facilitate online testing of the theoretical component of the assessment.
Tertiary institutions will make their own decisions on the closure of the current school year and the opening of the 2020-2021 academic period.