My question is Is Jamaica’s PEP lacking or are teachers without proper PEP? Where can we access ongoing reports on reviews in private versus public schools, that too in consideration of known performance levels.
The following is based on discussions with a select number of parents, teachers, educators and of course review of pep papers. Research still ongoing and article may be updated.
As a full fledged artist, trained specifically in Visual Arts, its a frustrating concern listening to all the todo about this thing called PEP.
n 2018, students between Grades 4 to 6 got a taste of PEP leaving some if not most teachers across the island miserable.
In a turnaround too many teachers spoken to blamed students for not having the ability to think critically.
The transparent mystery
Its all a mystery yet so transparent.. A whole shinbag on what’s pep about.. Pep in my opinion and experience did not make children appear dumber. It merely showed up the lack of guidance teachers had in preparing students for PEP (Primary Exit Profile creation).
Teachers themselves lacking PEP
Some teachers reasonably appear as being without the PEP thinker ability, lacking training themselves, while other teachers seem to have not been properly guided on how to prepare their students for the PEP bang.
Here comes a new way of testing ability, some hints, crash deadlines, a precious few samples of the test questions. WHALLAH! The teachers are left to put it altogether, and parents are the last to be invited in for partaking interactively. Then there are the teachers who despite lacking an understanding of PEP, are bent on teaching parents what they need, while being unable to think through PEP themselves.
Reasoning ability and the connect of driver-accepted academic subjects are not understood nor the link of driver subjects in such as Visual Arts in honing critical thinking skills is overlooked.
Its a degrading insult when teachers who learn only to recall and regurgitate information suddenly fathom they are in a position to think critically simply because they are given material to teach.
So in some arenas teachers act like superstars as if they alone possess the uncanny ability to unravel the mysteries of PEP, but really are literally clueless.
On the other hand there seems to be no regulation or full disclosure for that matter, by the Government. There is evidence from a review of the tests set in some schools that their inhouse tests have varying degrees of difficulties. Hence in one school, inhouse tests are designed that everyone gets good passes that reflect on their profile. One therefore wonders what measures are inplace to ensure fairness. Hmm, a point to investigate.
Degree is never equal to intelligence and PEP proves this. PEP also now underscores that school in its purest form can be damaging especially with the wrong ego filled persons at the helm of leadership.
School does some damage with the wrong head
They promote that grade advancement is education and that teaching amounts to educating. The confusion of being able to talk about something new or well from memory translates to fluency and wisdom. So then owning diplomas and degrees is wrongfully promoted as competence.
Some teachers struggle to ensure the local school test was PEP appropriate, but failed as perhaps translating said examination to being age relevant as well was not considered. The drawback here was that these very teachers mostly taught Level one recalling for an entire term without sufficient incidences of practice in PEP requirements. Then there is the challenge of the very wide variety of skills in numeracy and literacy of the students in any one public school. And the overcrowded classroom.
Specific subject papers sat by students in at least two primary school were observed as not being age appropriate and too complex falling out of the realm of PEP sampling provided. There were instances where Language arts exam failed the readability test and had far too many grammatical errors.
Albeit teachers wee too proud of their training / position to stop and get appropriate review. So one now wonders what the profile grade will be, while these very teachers continue to be well paid.
Top Secret of PEP
Now the books from the recall era are the ones being used in a great majority of schools, yet somehow teachers alone have samples on the essence of strategic and critical and extensive thinking necessary for Jamaica’s PEP. There is a failure however to bring parents and caregivers into the equation assuming that teachers have always taught students independent of practice and home training. Parents are literally blocked from accessing samplings of how the child is being tested. Website links given to some were inadequate. Could it be that there is an assumption that parents are not critical thinkers, which therefore will validate how some teachers assumption that students are not thinkers generally – an insult to the Jamaican populace.
So it seems the subject experts within the Ministry should play a part in carefully monitoring the training up to and including the examination set. Better yet, failing the intervention of corruption, the focus of PEP to regularise all training at this level now must be seen in full focus.
Until then, teachers everywhere no matter what level must overlook the disconnect and research material to maintain their standard of teaching. That is in environments free from corruption where teachers feel forced to fabricate results.
I empathise with the student with under-researched, disconnected teachers, but I pity the teachers who behave as if they are flawless and keep blaming the children…..simply massaging their ego.
Sample PEP questions
If you found this difficult to read, then you got a true taste of how some PEP exams are being set. So word of advise, research, practise to read between the lines and read between the lines to practice to succeed at critical thinking.