JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Ministry will be looking at establishing a special education framework that will better enable teachers to identify students with special needs.
“Each student is unique, they have different learning styles; so you have to have a framework of special education that also empowers your teacher to be able to diagnose our students,” he said.
The Minister was speaking in a recent interview on the Jamaica information Service (JIS) television programme Issues and Answers.
Mr. Reid explained that under this system, each student would have their own profile “almost treating them like a doctor would treat a patient.”
This structure, he said must now be the part of the new norm in education and will ensure that no child is left behind, and is able to achieve his or her full potential.
“It is a conversation now that I need to have with our policymakers within the education system and our teacher training institutions because how we have trained our teachers, many of them don’t have this kind of skill set to be able to diagnose effectively, and to deal with students with diverse needs,” he said.
The Minister recently attended the Education World Forum in London, where addressing students with special needs was one of the areas of focus.
In the meantime, Mr. Reid is encouraging persons to aspire for higher education, lamenting that very few students go beyond Grade 11.
“We want all our citizens to aspire to highest possible potential they have and we want tertiary education to be an aspiration for every student,” he said.
He pointed out that when the Government designed the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), it was “(a) signal to the entire community that you just don’t out school, you yearn for lifelong learning.”
“We want full certification for all our students…We take them through CAP, from Grade 11 to Grade 13 (up to) age 18, but they are not to stop there…they shouldn’t even feel comfortable until they have achieved their full potential in tertiary education,” he noted.
The Minister noted however that Jamaica is ahead of most other developing countries in terms of getting more students to pursue higher learning.
CAPTION: Senator the Honourable Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information