SENATOR RUEL REID, Minister of Education, Youth and Information says his recent tour of the School of the Future in Philadelphia, USA has validated the Ministry’s decision to implement the Alternative Pathways to Secondary Education (APSE) approach in September this year.
The School of the Future caters to a mixture of students with and without special needs.
Minister Reid, who visited the US-based institution along with a group of Jamaican school principals last week, was informed that children with special needs are allowed to stay in school until age 21. He noted that this was similar to the Ministry’s recent policy decision to extend secondary schooling to seven years or to age 18 to allow students more time to gain the relevant certification.
According to its vision statement theSchool of the Future is about redefining the “norm”. It is about answering the question, “What if?” And it is about demonstrating what learning must look like in the 21 century for all students.
Following his visit Minister Reid has restated his call for universities in Jamaica to partner with the Ministry to determine the level of special needs in our education system. He is of the view that there might be a higher population of children with special needs, such as autism, than what education officials and school administrators are aware of.
The school tour was coordinated by the Irwine Clare-led Team Jamaica Bickle, Inc. based in the USA.