Ministry looks to research to improve key subject areasWritten by CUOPM
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 18TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Although a challenging year in 2011, the Ministry of Education and Information was able to achieve significant progress in the education sector in particular.
Against the backdrop of the enormous opportunity for education to effect positive social and economic change, Minister of Education and Information, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty says the Ministry's efforts relative to its goals are guided by the White Paper on Education Development and policy 2009 – 2019 and which will be enhanced through continuous review and improvement.
“In this regard, the outputs from our Forum on Education, themed 'Towards Greater Effectiveness in Education: New Achievements and New Paradigms', held in May of 2011 have informed the priorities and plans for the next year. The forum focused on some major concerns of the Ministry including Gender Disparity in Education, Parental Responsibility, Higher Education, and Teachers' Accountability, Roles, Rights and Responsibilities,” said Senator Carty.
He disclosed that the Ministry continues to be proud of the progress made in its Early Childhood Education and Development programme and for 2012, the construction and equipping of new early childhood facilities, repairs to existing facilities, the recruitment of workers to staff the new facilities, training for new workers and status upgrade for some categories of early childhood workers will be the main preoccupation of the Ministry.
According to Minister Carty, all levels of staff in Early Childhood Centres will be encouraged to upgrade their basic qualifications.
He said that the implementation of an Associate Degree Programme in Early Childhood Education at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI) by September 2012 has been identified as critical to the enhancement of instructional quality.
Mr. Carty said the work in curriculum and Tests of Standards reform is ongoing, pointing out that in 2011, subject committees for the setting of the Tests of Standards were instituted to assist in improving the validity and reliability of the tests as measures of students' achievement at the primary level.
“The planned review of the curriculum in core areas will examine and improve their relevance to the goals of our society. The development of a Moral and Social Development Curriculum, and a Curriculum for National or Black History at the primary and secondary levels, must be completed in 2012,” said Minister Carty.
He said the 2011 Test of Standards results reveal that in every grade above Grade 2, in every subject area, in every public school, girls outperform boys by a significant average of about 7 percentage points.
“One of the major decisions emerging from our Forum on Education is that the Ministry will increase its reliance on research-based decision-making. In this regard, research is to be undertaken to investigate teaching and learning variables, commencing at the Grade Three level in primary schools, through exploring single-sex classrooms or subject groupings, and other curriculum-related studies. Moreover, my Ministry will explore the assignment of subject matter experts, in Mathematics and Science in particular, to primary schools to improve performance in key subject areas,” Mr. Carty said.