Saturday Express Editorial

The Ministry of Education is to be credited for attempting to deal with the problem of the thousands of ­academically unprepared pupils who have been placed in secondary schools. The plan, as outlined, envisages an approach which speaks to the establishment of a post-primary programme within secondary schools across the country.

It can be assessed as a bold effort—one that calls for the wholehearted support of all the associated interest groups. Parents, ­especially, should be as eager as they can be in seizing this opportunity to make the best of this initiative.

Getting members of the school-age population up to scratch, with respect to where they may be at this time in the education queue, ought to be paramount in the minds of parents and ­guardians.

As is so often our national aspiration across a range of endea­vours, a “whole of society” look-in on this plan is a way to go.

Just days ago, we remarked in these pages about the vulnerability of any number of pupils who may have lost the momentum for learning and for moving forward because of the restrictions which came with management of the Covid-19 virus in our midst.

We see this initiative as an attempt to address the specific problem of the pandemic’s disruptive impact on what existed in the learning environment.

A more fundamental problem of the education system’s inadequate preparation of pupils for graduating from primary to ­secondary school remains to be addressed.

Just before the outbreak of Covid-19, the Government had begun a series of public consultations aimed at tackling the issue of the much-needed transformation of the education system. This is a priority that should not be allowed to fall off the radar.

Having taken the lead on this matter, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley needs to pick it up and not allow it to languish and disappear. The education system is broken and cannot be fixed with the customary placing of plasters on open sores.

For the moment, however, this new initiative meets the ­demand for fixing a critical element in the basic education of our children.

Hope-inspiring as well, it returns us to a feature of an era past, which was of major significance in the preparation of young ­people for life in the real world.

This is what used to be known, up to sometime in the 1960s, as the School Leaving Certificate.

Such was the lifeline to which untold thousands held on and which helped propel them to productive engagements in the world of work.

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said in an effort to create learning equity, a model of such a plan is being formalised and supported. It is already in existence in some schools, she announced. Kudos for those schools and the leaders who took such action.

We support the minister’s call for parents and pupils not to be embarrassed by having to consider this plan as an option for moving forward. The Cabinet should waste no time also in putting the critical elements in place to effect the plan’s launch. It is as critical as that.