Playing around with GSAT placement

The Minister of Education recently announced that starting this year, students in the GSAT exam, will be placed at schools nearest to their homes, this is known as zoning. Ideally this not a bad idea at all, but in the Jamaican really is it  the right thing to do at this time ?

We simply can’t just make up the policies as we go along, instead we need to plan, prepare and then execute if we expect to get good results.

We have over the years placed schools in various areas depending on who is the Member of Parliament and whatever representation he may have made to his colleague ministers. There is no Urban or Rural Planning process that is used to determine where best to place schools and the feeder schools which will feed into these plus the size and geographic area in which people live and the group of cohorts the school will be catering to.

We therefore end up with schools in areas where no one would want to send their kids as not only is their lack of access to road, water and other facilities, but the school was never designed to give the results we desire for nation building

Schools are not properly laid out, the grounds are largely open to animals and every Tom, Dick and Harry and does not meet the basic requirements for effective learning to take place.

Due to the inequity in the existing system, what we likely to see is students who despite the challenges, perform well, only relegated to the schools where they live, without due regard for how that school environment may negatively impact that child. At the same time it means that kids who are not doing well, have little of no chance of aspiring to anything as the school they are to be placed in, are designed for failure.

It therefore means that before this system goes into effect, the ministry must accept for a fact that schools are not equal and  must work to improve the situation in the schools, then move to the stage of whole scale zoning.

If this is not done, than all that will happen is that the MOE will be seen as  trying to maintain the status quo, by keeping so called up town schools for uptown kids and downtown schools for downtown kids particularly in the urban areas ie Kingston and St Andrew.

This is certainly not the intent, but this is how it is likely to play out once the placement process begins.

Now the Minister was not very clear on the methodology to be used and really it was irresponsible of him to make the statement he made without providing any further details.

One school of thought is the zoning will only apply to kids who got low scores on the GSAT, but without a definite statement from the minister, this is simply guess work.

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One Response

  1. Well the minister has clarified his earlier statement. Ronnie has a thing for making a statement to generate interest and then come back to make another statement to clarify the first statement.

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