Jamaica needs specialist secondary schools

Dear Editor,
The new Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exam which is set to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) next year is a good move by the Ministry of Education.
But I want to urge the ministry not to stop there, but to take decisive steps to also create a few specialist secondary schools to better serve our young people. As a nation, we have clear developmental goals to achieve, and what better way to do this than by encouraging secondary schools to specialise in targeted areas of the curriculum. I believe we could get our children more fired up about learning if we had specialised high schools for the study of engineering, science, the arts, agriculture, business, modern languages and sports, among others. Can you imagine your teenage son or daughter heading out with his or her maths and English books to a special high school, where their ultimate goal is not just to pass CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) or CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination) but to acquire skills in animation, gaming, coding, film-making, farming, animal breeding, fashion design, entrepreneurship, etc?
Well, we can do more than imagine; we need to demand more for our children from the education system.
We need to advocate for the development of specialist secondary schools if we are serious about fixing the education system, engaging our young people and making Jamaica the place ‘of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’.

Sandy Thompson
Kingston 8