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Automatic Promotion Policy overhauled- Manickchand

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand flanked by Chief Education Officer Olato Sam and Permanent Secretary Velma Nedd.

The Automatic Promotion Policy (APP) has been drastically overhauled because it has been virtually rejected by parents and students, and there has been poor response to remedial classes, officials said Thursday.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said students who perform poorly in Mathematics and English would not be promoted to the next class. The APP system is applicable only in secondary schools.

She explained that students would be required to achieve close to the overall pass-mark set by the school with at least five CXC subjects with Grades 1 to 3.

Manickchand said the decision to revise the Automatic Promotion Policy (APP) followed countrywide consultations at 30 meetings that were held as part of the planned review after two years.

“Reports from the consultations revealed that the policy is not popular with any of the critical stakeholders. Parents, teachers and even students themselves believe that the promotion from one grade to another should not be automatic,” she told a news conference at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).

The Ministry of Education says all students will be instructed in a manner that will increase their chances of achieving the required pass-marks. If a student scores below the overall pass-mark set by the school in more than 50 percent of the subjects the student is taking, the student will be asked to repeat the grade, she said.

She added that if a student achieves less than the overall pass-mark set by the school and the reason for the underachievement is either Mathematics or English, the student will be asked to repeat the grade.

Authorities say a student who masters English and Mathematics can choose any other three subject areas based on his or her preference. If a student fails to achieve the pass mark as a result of any other subject that student will not be asked to repeat the grade but maybe asked to drop those subjects, said Manickchand.

She said the APP was designed to reduce the number of students who dropped out due to boredom of having to redo subjects or the embarrassment of being class with younger children.

The Education Minister said no analysis was done to ascertain how students performed at CXC under the APP system. She said “heavy intense remediation” sessions were not done because children were not participating and teachers were not making themselves available. “One could deduce from that the student who would have been automatically promoted might not have been successful as if he or she was forced to master a subject,” she said.

Chief Education Officer Olato Sam said the APP would have resulted in less drop-outs.