Monday, November 21, 2011

Capacity Focus, 17: Cambridge Exams Syndicate withdraws -- an opportunity?

Several days ago, the local news had an announcement from the Ministry of Education. Cambridge Exams Syndicate, owing to declining registration in this part of the Caribbean, was  withdrawing services, and to protect the integrity of papers, students would have to sit exams in synch with another region [it seems, West Africa?], requiring sitting papers at 4 am and 8 am, instead of the accustomed 9 am and 1 pm.

Unsurprisingly, with immediate effect, the Ministry announced its withdrawal from supporting private candidates and such courses in the sole local high school that were still offered on a Cambridge syllabus. (This includes Physics and Agriculture at 5th form/Grade 11 standard.)

This leaves, in the main, CXC on the table, with a system that for most subjects is locked into a school through having the School Based Assessments system (which can therefore be somewhat problematic for private students). There are possibilities through the regionalisation of the Jamaican HEART/NTA tech-voc system, and perhaps adaptation of their High School Equivalency programme.

But also, immediately, there is an opening for a recognised regional college system to provide an entry track, with secondary completion studies, bridging studies, vocational and/or job skills, as well as a distance mode Associate Degree. 

Something like:
The proposed AA CCS framework for qualifications for life, work and service

Taking a wider view, we can see how an approach that creates a portfolio based profile of achievements, skill-building and life development could be used to set a context for building our young people for effective life, work and service in, and from the Caribbean:

An education and mentoring framework for developing our youth for life, work and service

Such a framework could be fairly easily developed for guidance and mentoring as an area of discipleship and service. Such a portfolio, or excerpts from it, would also be helpful in job applications, interviews etc.

For this, I am thinking that a good flagship could be a good cluster of courses in ICT's, computer programming and multimedia productivity. This could be integrated with second chance secondary completion and other key skill areas such as book-keeping, project management, small enterprise creation and management, core agriculture skills, and possibly areas like electronics etc. A framework of appenticeship and certification of skill levels could also be developed or adopted or adapted.

Worth thinking about. END

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