Entrepreneurship to be a part of grade school teaching in Jamaica

Wayne Chen, president of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), has welcomed the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) plans to introduce subjects related to entrepreneurship as part of efforts to boost the economies of the region.

Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Chen said it was an initiative for which he had been lobbying for some time.

“In fact, just recently, I made a global call for entrepreneurship skills to be taught at the primary and secondary level throughout the world as we believe it will unlock entrepreneurship talent, but, most importantly, it will give young people an appreciation of how wealth is created in a market economy,” Chen said.

Professor E. Nigel Harris, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, who sits on the CXC board, earlier yesterday said the council was consistently seeking ways to remain relevant and to improve students’ innovative skills.

“We can’t do things the same way we used to do 40 years ago, and so we want to ensure that the learning material that students get will be consistent with the 21st century,” Harris told The Gleaner, following the CXC’s 40th anniversary church service held at the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston.

Aim to broaden skills

“Therefore, there will be some new programmes for examina-tions in entrepreneurship, environmental science, and others such as tourism that are not traditional CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certifi-cate) and CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination), with the aim of broadening students’ innovative skills,” he said.

He added: “What we recognise is that one of our big problems in the Caribbean is the absence of innovation and good business sense, and so we have to teach them these skills from early because not everyone will have the opportunity to go to university right away.”

In further commenting on CXC’s plans, Chen advised that entrepreneurship not only be taught in a theoretical form, but emphasised the need for a practical aspect to be included.

“I would also want to say that they (CXC) should ensure that there are practical components, not just a textbook exercise. We want students to get the hands-on experience of the skill, whether it is a stock market competition, or some class activities that are employed with the theory – not just book based,” he said.

In a communiqué from the 44th meeting of the CXC in Anguilla last month, it was indicated that the School Examinations Committee had ratified the approval of the plan for the completion of CAPE syllabuses in entrepreneurship, agricultural science, the performing arts, and tourism.