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Published 22nd January 2010, 4:0pm

As planning for the restructuring of secondary education continues, the Ministry of Education has released further information about the new Mandatory Year 12 programme. Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues explained that the Year 12 programme is part of a major restructuring exercise, which will see the implementation of 2 all-through 7-11 high schools replace the current Middle and High School arrangements, in September, 2010. "These changes will be complemented by a new mandatory Year 12 education programme, which will provide new learning opportunities for students after they sit their O Level/CXC examinations," she explained. According to Education Minister, a range of learning opportunities are being developed that will, for the first time, address gaps in our education system that have been identified by educators, parents and employers and students. "Our goal with the Year 12 programme is to better prepare students of all abilities to continue and enhance their education, to be employable, and to be productive responsible citizens of our society," Minister Anglin stated. "For some of our children this will mean providing second chances to succeed with their external examinations, for others it will mean academic programmes which provide higher levels of challenge. For others it will mean new opportunities in technical and vocational subjects. For all our children it must mean better career assessment, guidance and counselling." Chief Education Officer, Shirley Wahler, explained that the programmes for the mandatory Year 12 students will be based at the present George Hicks Campus, with a range of programmes on offer catering to a variety of needs and interests. She explained that for students wishing to improve on their CXC/GCSE grades, or who wish to take additional subjects at this level, there will be a Foundation Studies programme of one-year CXC and GCSE courses. Functional literacy and numeracy programmes will also be available. The Year 12 programme will also offer technical and vocational programmes which will be complementary to the current UCCI certificate courses. Among the areas being considered for the technical and vocational programmes are Motor Vehicle Studies, Business, IT, Sport and Fitness, and Health and Social Care. Students will also be able to access the UCCI certificate courses. Mrs. Wahler advised that a new academic programme is also planned. The Cayman Islands Diploma Programme will allow students to prepare for university entry while studying for the Advanced Placement International Diploma. Entry to this programme will require the minimum of five higher passes at CXC/GCSE including English and Mathematics. Students may still choose to study 'A' levels at the private schools, or the Associate Degree at UCCI. It is further anticipated that most students will also undertake at least one day per week of work or community service placements, part of the emphasis on preparing students for the next stage in their lives. Underpinning all of the new programmes for Year 12 students will be a robust new Careers Service. Counsellors in this service will work closely with students in the new Year 12 programmes, as well as supporting other secondary students in planning and preparing for future career choices. To support this programme, the ministry intends to triple the present specialist careers staff, in addition to utilizing existing staff in careers liaison roles. Minister Anglin advised that a range of consultation meetings with secondary parents and students will begin within the next two weeks, along with meetings with other key stakeholder groups. "I encourage everyone to participate, to get informed and to share your views. These are exciting and important changes to our educational system, which have the potential to improve our students' learning and ultimately their life chances."