The Minister said this was one of the recommendations coming from the Education Advisory Board, which was put in place to increase consultation with stakeholders.
Addressing the issue yesterday August 23, during a live Educators Professional Day, he said: “I have consulted the Board on several important policies, and this will continue. One policy that we consulted the Board on was the two and three-year track for secondary students.”
He added, “They have made recommendations to myself as minister for qualifications to be included into the two-year track, and I have decided to accept their recommendations. They have recommended that those [students] with the 3.3 GPA based on their work from 7th through 9th grade will qualify for a two-year track in our public secondary schools.”
He said this two-year track, however will be delayed until the 2022/2023 academic school year because the teachers have not had adequate time with the students due to the impact of COVID-19.
In the meantime, he said advanced students will continue to be duly enrolled at the H.L. Stoutt Community College, a programme which is working well.
The Minister said plans are underway for consultations to be had on the undertaking “in the coming weeks and months.”
“I want to ensure that our children have adequate time to build strong skills as opposed to rushing through our time in school while losing track of our ultimate goal. I also await recommendations from the Education Advisory Board on other graduation requirements, including the Exit Proficiency Exams and community service hours,” he said.
Further explaining the new policy, Hon. Wheatley said: “I decided that we would keep the additional year, but we would give the advanced students the opportunity to graduate a year early. So those with a 3.3 GPA through grades 7 to 9 will qualify to leave early. They have to meet the requirements like everyone else.”
The sixth additional year in high school was introduced under Myron Walwyn tenure as Minister for Education.