Thwaites throws darts at Ruel Reid’s take on PEP mock exam results
Reverend Ronald Thwaites
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Reverend Ronald Thwaites, has said the Government needs to come clean on the challenges being faced with the introduction of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations this school year, contending that the matter is of critical importance to the future of the nation's children.
In a statement on Friday evening, Thwaites, with the reported backing of the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Education Commission, contended that Education Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, misled the Jamaican people about the performance of the children who took the PEP performance mock examination in June.
In the face of contradictory statements by Reid and State Minister in the Education Ministry, Floyd Green, on the facts behind the mock examination results, and even whether or not it was actually a mock examination, Thwaites has nosedived into the issue in search of clarity.
Thwaites said the ministry has refused to release the detailed results of the examination, and contended that Reid led the nation to believe that over 80 per cent of the students performed satisfactorily in the examination, and the rest would likely be able to catch up in time for the actual PEP examination for the first time next year.
Senator Ruel Reid
The PEP is a replacement for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), the country’s former national high school entrance test.
“The country now knows that none of that is true,” said Thwaites of Reid’s general statements on the matter at a press conference which the minister held in relation to the mock examination results.
Thwaites said Reid manipulated the results with a political agenda, by combining the students who performed satisfactorily with others who did not meet the required standard, and contended that the ministry is now trying to justify the ‘false outline’ from Reid.
“How can a near pass be the same as a good pass…?” questioned Thwaites.
“Because it is the stated and clear principle of the People’s National Party to end the apartheid in education, and my demand for the detailed breakdown of the results in Parliament, the cover-up was exposed. Now we know,” Thwaites declared.
He said the mock examination results were dismal, with not much more than 25 per cent of children reaching the required standards in English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, with which they will be required go in and do well in high school.
“After this, how can we trust anything that Minister Reid tells us about education in the future?” asked Thwaites.
He said the PNP is now calling for an urgent national consultation on the state of primary-level education in the country.
The statement from the party also cited a need for a massive retraining of teachers to enable them better relate to the challenges within the education sector.