JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is again encouraging Jamaicans to embrace and not fear the new Primary Exit Profile (PEP) which will replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as the national secondary-school placement examination.

 

“We can understand the fears and the concerns. But I encourage all Jamaica to embrace this as an opportunity for the transformation of our people from mere consumers of technology and consumers of information to now being people who can create knowledge and who can create technology,” he said.

 

Mr. Holness was addressing an awards ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday (August 22) for children of OPM and Office of the Cabinet staff members who were successful in the final sitting of the GSAT earlier this year.

 

He said the thrust to create a digital society and a knowledge-based economy will require people who can innovate, think outside of the box, apply knowledge to real world problems, and are solutions-oriented persons, adding that PEP is designed to prepare youngsters for these engagements.

 

PEP, which students will sit for the first time in the upcoming 2018/19 academic year, is intended to provide an improved and more complete profile of students’ academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.

 

Prime Minister Holness emphasised that PEP will create a new type of Jamaica – “one (who) has a more curious mind… who is looking more for solutions, rather than being pedantic… is not afraid of technology, but believes in the process of investigation (and) discovery, and applying existing knowledge to current problems to come up with solutions.”

 

“I think the transition from GSAT to PEP will be better for the country and for the generations to come,” he asserted.

 

Mr. Holness explained that PEP, unlike GSAT, “won’t be one exam that will determine your fate”, instead, it will require students to sit a series of exams over three years.

 

“So you will not have one exam determine your life chance. The exam is not only geared for the brightest, those who can read and assimilate and then regurgitate; it tests a broader range of skills. So we want to know how you function in the real world. Can you take the knowledge that your have learnt and apply it to real world situations? That’s profound. That’s fundamental to the growth and development of the Jamaican economy and our society,” he said.

 

Mr. Holness pointed out, however, that the exam will take teachers out of their comfort zones because they will now be tasked with inspiring students to come up with their own solutions.

 

“So it is not just a different type of exam; it will really take a different kind of approach to teaching as well,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness commended the GSAT awardees on their performance, noting that they “will have the distinction to be the last generation of Jamaicans to sit that…examination”.

 

“I know many of you would’ve gotten your school of choice. That means that you would’ve worked very hard and your parents are very relieved; and we at OPM are doing our little part to ensure that you can continue with your education,” he said.

 

During the event, the Prime Minister presented 10 students with back-to-school gift vouchers.

 

CAPTION: Mr. Holness was addressing an awards ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday (August 22) for children of OPM and Office of the Cabinet staff members who were successful in the final sitting of the GSAT earlier this year.