Douglas McIntosh August
17 years and older who, for different reasons, missed out on the opportunity to
attain or complete their secondary education, will get the chance to achieve
this goal under a new Ministry of Education initiative, the High School
Diploma Equivalency (HSDE) programme, to be implemented in September.
HSDE is a three-tiered adult education programme designed to equip participants
with the necessary academic qualifications and certification to enhance their
marketability and thereby position them to access quality jobs.
implementation of the initiative will be spearheaded by the Jamaican Foundation
for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), an agency of the Ministry, commencing September
programme will be implemented in two parts, with the initial pilot phase slated
for roll out in six parishes between September and March. These include:
Kingston, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Manchester, Westmoreland, and St. James.
implementation will be carried out in the remaining parishes between April and
programme will be delivered at the basic, intermediate and proficiency levels,
and will see students being awarded certification at all stages, on their
completion of the curricula provisions, and respective stipulated mandatory
hours of tutorial engagement.
will span 40 weeks of instructions and will be held in the mornings,
afternoons, and evenings from Monday to Friday at 28 JFLL designated adult
education centres. These will be scheduled according to the number of persons
will be made based on the results of assessments conducted on applicants, to
determine the level at which they are ideally suited to commence.
initiative is consistent with the Government’s human capital development
strategic priority, focusing on education for individual family advancement and
national development, particularly in the area of universal literacy.
also consistent with the JFLL’s revision of the 40-year-old adult literacy
programme inherited from its predecessor, the Jamaica Movement for the
Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL).
at the HSDE’s recent launch at the JFLL’s head office in Kingston, Deputy
Executive Director, Dr. Grace-Camille Munroe, pointed out that the programme’s
three levels are equivalent to Grades One to 11 placements and instructions in
the regular school system.
explained that the academic provisions at the basic level are equivalent to
Grades One to Six; intermediate – Grades Seven to Nine; and proficiency –
Grades 10 and 11.
basic level targets improvements in basic literacy and numeracy, and will
entail instructions in English Language, Mathematics, Life Skills, and
Munroe said students at this level are required to complete 800 hours of
tutorial engagement during the course of their studies.
intermediate level focuses on high school instructional delivery, specifically
targeting the preparation of students to sit the Grade Nine Standard Level
Assessment. Instructions at this level incorporate the Caribbean Examination
Council’s (CXC) Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC)
syllabus, and other competence-based syllabi.
CCSLC is designed to certify the knowledge, generic competencies, and attitudes
and values that all secondary school leavers should have attained.
to be taught at this stage include: English Language, Mathematics, Social
Studies, Science and Technology, and Information Technology.
completion of this stage, students will have acquired the requisite
qualifications to make them more employable, and also enable them
to take the HEART Trust/NTA entrance test for enrolment in skills training
programmes at the agency’s academies.
proficiency level, students will be on track to complete high school studies
and sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) external
to be offered at this level are: English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies,
Integrated Science, and Information Technology. On completion of this stage,
students will be awarded their HSDE diploma certification.
Munroe said participants in each of the latter two levels are required to
complete 1,200 hours of tutorial engagement.
pointed out that the HSDE’s structure is flexible, as it allows students to
conveniently exit and re-enter the programme to complete one level of
instructional delivery, or transition to the next.
commenced in July, and is expected to be completed by October, with a minimum
of 3,000 participants being targeted for enrolment.
Munroe advised that the highest percentage of applications has been received
from persons in the 15 to 19 age group, who have mainly expressed an interest
in the programme’s basic level.
said as part of the JFLL’s commitment to ensuring the success of all students
enrolling in the programme, 205 of the agency’s teachers, facilitators, parish
managers, field officers, and support staff participated in its inaugural
five-day summer training course at the University of the West Indies’
Mona, St. Andrew Campus, in July.
week-long engagement, according to the Deputy Executive Director, was aimed at
“equipping and enriching” the participants to effectively implement the HSDE
programme across their respective learning sites.
addition, Dr. Munroe said the JFLL has developed a “robust and dynamic” digital
platform, which will enable timely delivery of the HSDE to persons who, for
whatever reason, are not able to access instructional delivery in a classroom
setting. This platform, she said, will enable those persons to access
instructions, once they have computer and internet/broadband access.
pointed out that the HSDE resulted from a “ministerial mandate” which Portfolio
Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, issued to the JFLL to “refocus,
reposition, reenergize, and rebrand yourselves, so as to effectively and
consistently deliver on a literacy renaissance.”
the HSDE’s development, Rev. Thwaites, who spoke at the launch, noted that the
“breadth of the curriculum…(has been) carefully thought out” by the JFLL.
and Mathematics are non-negotiable. Social studies and information technology
are critical…and an opening to the understanding of the sciences (and)
scientific principles…is absolutely essential,” he said.
Minister also cited the “many possibilities” arising from the programme’s
implementation. “There are openings for teachers who may not find a place in
the traditional classrooms,” the Minister noted.
message read by CXC representative, Jodene Williamson, Acting Pro Registrar,
Dr. Carol Grantson, described the HSDE’s implementation as a “defining moment
in Jamaica’s history.”
said the regional body welcomes the opportunity for collaboration with the JFLL
and other stakeholders to facilitate certification of persons meeting the
CXC recognizes the importance of this milestone initiative in the educational
landscape in Jamaica, and is committed to ensuring that the systems and
processes required for the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence
(CCSLC), which features in the intermediate level of this programme, are in
place,” she said.
Grantson argued that the CCSLC is the “ideal component” for the HSDE, in light
of similarities in both programmes’ objectives.
Deputy Opposition Spokesman on Industry, Investment, Commerce, Mining, and
Energy, Kent Gammon, who represented Opposition leader, Andrew Holness,
at the launch, pledged the Opposition’s support for the HSDE.
will do whatever we can…to offer assistance to this programme…to ensure (its)
successful roll-out across the length and breadth of Jamaica,” he
in 2006, the JFLL is responsible for administering a range of academic
programmes for enrolled students, delivered at its Adult Education Centres
operated islandwide, as well as in partnership with a network of stakeholders,
such as libraries, workplaces, and other entities volunteering their facilities
for this engagement.