DES adjusts Year 12 programme requirements

| 01/09/2020 | 2 Comments
Cayman News Service
Layman Scott High School, Cayman Brac

(CNS): As all students returned to government schools this week, it emerged that COVID-19 has created yet another challenge for education in the Cayman Islands. Year 12 students taking the Dual Entry Programme usually start their final year of compulsory learning based on the results of external exams taken in the summer. But since they don’t have these yet, the Department of Education Services (DES) has had to rethink requirements and is using predictions plus results already achieved to help place high school students in their final year.

Officials said that before the pandemic, eligibility to enter the programme, which allows students to complete the final year of high school while also studying for either A Levels or an associate degree, was mainly based on external examinations results. But given the delay in the regular external examinations schedule, an alternative means in determining students’ eligibility has now been established.

Acting DES Director Tammy Banks-DaCosta said that after consultation with the education ministry, her team at DES “in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC), gained approval on a decision to adjust the application process for the Dual Entry Programme”.

This year, acceptance into the programme will be based on students’ predicted exam results provided by the high schools as well as their grades in external exams that they have already sat. Banks-DaCosta noted that the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) and the private high schools offering A Level programmes, who were consulted in the matter, would need to make decisions on their intake before the final grades of the relevant external exams were known.

“We absolutely recognise that the disruptions to the school year, exams and indeed our very lives have made for very challenging times. However, we are focused on overcoming each obstacle by ensuring we continue to meet our students’ needs,” she added.

The programme allows students to begin their tertiary education journey at the age of 16 and to improve their chances of higher education. After successful completion of Year 11, students have the opportunity to enroll in the Year 12 programme while also pursuing one of two further education pathways: either the first year of an associate degree at UCCI or the first year of an A Level programme.

After successful completion of Year 12, students then graduate with their high school diploma as well as having gained a one-year head start on their desired tertiary education pathway. Students who are not eligible for the Dual Entry Programme have the opportunity to retake or gain more subject passes at CIFEC or the Layman Scott High School Year 12 Programme for Cayman Brac students.

“The fact that the Year 12 programme of our government secondary schools provides different pathways is an indication of our commitment to meet the unique needs of our students and provide them with every opportunity to excel,” said Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.

“I am pleased in knowing that another cohort is receiving this unique opportunity despite the setbacks of this pandemic. The programme is proof of an effective and sustainable programme, and the adjustment is additional proof that we continue to adapt and innovate in prioritising the needs of our students. Whatever the challenge, no child in these Cayman Islands will be left behind,” she added.

Students approved for the programme were contacted directly by CIFEC.  If parents or guardians have any questions or wish to appeal the decision for acceptance into the Dual Entry Programme, they may contact the principal of the high school their child attended. Principals will forward the requests, along with their recommendations, to the Dual Entry Programme panel for review and consideration.

See here for more information about education amidst the pandemic.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Applauding Ms Juli and Ms Tammy for leading difficult decisions in these difficult times.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can someone explain to me why the DES has a double standard for Caymanian students when it comes to A-Levels if a Caymanian child born to two Caymanian parents has been into the private school system when they move over to the A-Level phase of their education, they only qualify for half tuition but anyone coming from the Public school system gets a full scholarship.

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