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Caribbean Journal of Education

The Evaluation of National Curriculum Strategies: The Rhetoric of Policy and the Reality of Practice

Publication Date: 
February 2020

This special section focuses on the evaluation of national curriculum strategies which was commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Jamaica through The UWI Consulting Inc. (see Jennings-Craig et al., 2012). The focal points for the evaluation were Numeracy, Literacy/Language Arts and Spanish in primary schools, and English Language, Mathematics and Modern Languages (Spanish and French) in secondary schools. These were the main concerns of policies which were developed and introduced since the beginning of the new millennium, namely: The National Curriculum Policy, the Language Education Policy and the Mathematics and Numeracy Policy. The rationale for these policies can be traced back to decisions made at the 18th Heads of Government Conference held in Jamaica in 1997. At a special session on human resource development, the heads of government discussed a paper prepared by the Caribbean Community entitled “Towards creative and productive citizens for the twenty first century”. They agreed on the characteristics of the ideal Caribbean person, which included having foreign language skills and being independent and critical thinkers. Priority areas in education identified for attention included improvement in literacy and numeracy, student-centred teaching, students with special needs, male underachievement, and the application of technology as an aid to teaching and learning. Quality secondary education was also to be achieved by 2000 (Jennings, 2001).

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