Plans are progressing well for the implementation of the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education (APSE) in September 2016, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is reporting.

Deputy Chief Education Officer for Curriculum and Support Services in the Ministry, Lena Buckle Scott, said there is now a National Standard Curriculum (NSC), replete with three pathways to education at the secondary level.

Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on April 6, she pointed out that the Ministry has taken a decision to provide for students at the secondary level, by meeting them exactly where they are, so the students can maximise their potential.

Mrs. Buckle Scott said the Ministry has been developing the NSC over the past four years and the draft is now in place, which is made up of a framework and teachers’ guides for the different disciplines.

She explained that the curriculum is learner centred; therefore it will cater to the needs of all the different learners.

Mrs. Buckle Scott pointed out that when students exit at Grade six, the examination will lead them to the three pathways. Pathway one will facilitate students who can access the secondary school curriculum with little or no support; Pathway two will be for those students who need more support, while Pathway three is for students who require much support for them to adequately access secondary education.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry, Dr. Grace McLean, said the APSE will see a full alignment of the education system from the primary level, which has the National Assessment Programme (NAP), to the secondary level, after which there will be the Career Advancement Programme (CAP).

The CAP will provide for students, two additional years for them to be able to develop the competencies and skills they may not have attained at the end of Grade 11.

Dr. McLean said the two additional years of schooling will only be applicable to those students who need this additional support.

The programme will be rolled out on a phased basis and students will be selected based on academic performance.

Dr. McLean noted that 14 schools have already been selected for the APSE and it is expected that approximately 10,000 students will be required to matriculate into the programme.

She explained that the aim of the programme is to cater specifically to the needs of those students who will be required to obtain additional subjects and additional competencies and skills to move into the world of work.

The APSE is to be institutionalised in all 167 high schools in Jamaica, but the roll- out in September will target schools that need the programme the most.