Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid says a decision by Calabar High School in St. Andrew to bar students who attain an average of less than 60 per cent from entering fifth form is not legal.
The Gleaner newspaper obtained a copy of a letter from the school, signed by principal Albert Corcho, which stated that in order to be promoted to grade 11, each boy must receive no less than 60 per cent for his overall average, along with good conduct.
This means that when the new school term begins next week, fourth-form students who do not meet the standard will not have a place at the all-boys institution.
Speaking on TVJ’s Smile Jamaica Thursday morning, Senator Reid said while schools can establish rules, they must conform with laws and the process of natural justice.
He said for a student to be dismissed, the school administration must refer the matter to its board, who must meet in a specified time to review the situation and make a recommendation to the principal.
But parents, he said, must also be aware that they can appeal the decision of a school board to the minister, who will review the matter and make a final decision.
Specifically in relation to the situation at Calabar High, Senator Reid said the matter also raises the question of where students who do not meet the 60 per cent average will go.
In the meantime, the Opposition Spokesman on Education Ronald Thwaites has said he supports the decision made by the administration at Calabar.
At a news conference Thursday, Mr. Thwaites said he is concerned that many children are moving through the education system without mastering the fundamentals, such as Mathematics and English.
“We compound those deficiencies by putting our children on a treadmill, where they are promoted every year according to their age, not according to their performance,” he asserted.
While Mr. Thwaites said he understood the difficulties attached to the situation at Calabar, the argued that the school’s decision should be supported.