The Ministry of Education acknowledges the call made by the former Minister of Education, Dr Derek Sikua who suggested that Year 13 should be phased out and to concentrate on creating more Year 11 (form 5) classes.
Despite the efforts made by the MEHRD and its development partners who have assisted in the school infrastructure projects (over the past 10 years) – to build more classrooms to increase access to senior secondary education (Years 10, 11 and 12) there is a relatively sizeable number of students who are denied senior secondary education because of limited places for them in the existing senior secondary schools.
Nonetheless, MEHRD has continued to invest in school infrastructure projects and there is plan to seek more funding from the National Government and Development Partners to build the senior secondary school infrastructure.
The choice and decision to establish Year 13 (Form 7) rests upon with the Education Authorities (now Education Providers under the Education Act 2023) and their respective school management.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) Dr Franco Rodie clarifies this in response to former Minister of Education Dr Derek Sikua suggestion to phase out year 13 to free up spaces at high schools to allow more students to continue their education until Year 11 (form 5).
The suggestion by former Minister and PS, Dr Sikua to phase out form 7 implicates that MEHRD supports the establishment of the Year 13 in senior secondary schools.
PS Rodie clarifies that it is not true to say the MEHRD supports the establishment of Year 13 in senior secondary schools. It has never been the ministry’s policy to include Year 13 in the secondary education system.
“Our school system covers Early Childhood Education (ECE) up to Year 12.
“Year 13 is a USP foundation program which is a requirement for students wanting to study at the regional university,” Dr. Rodie said.
He stated that the Education Strategic Framework 2016-2030 (ESF 2016-2030) does not include the development of Year 13 in secondary schools nor does the National Education Action Plan 2016-2020 (NEAP 2016-2020) and the existing NEAP 2022-2026 entail plans by the Ministry to establish Year 13 in the existing senior secondary schools.
“The choice and decision to establish Year 13 rests upon Education Authorities (now Education Providers under the Education Act 2023) and their respective school management teams,” he said.
The Ministry’s contribution to senior secondary schools that have Year 13 is through the teachers. In other words, the Ministry allocates teachers and also pays their salaries who are required to teach at Year 13 education level.
The ministry acknowledges that access to secondary education is still a challenge and would need collective efforts of stakeholders to ensure there is increased access for our children to complete secondary education up to Year 12.
Currently the total number of Year 11 schools is 164. This is an increase of 35 schools from 129 in 2016.
Compared to Year 12 the current total number of schools offering Tear 12 is 57. This shows an increase of 15 schools from 42 schools in 2016.
In recognition of the need to increase access to quality education the ministry is embarking on a six-year senior secondary education improvement project worth SBD$400 million, and it aims at expanding senior secondary education including curriculum development and infrastructure.
The project will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with aims to develop the secondary education curriculum (after almost 25 years). The project covers 10 identified senior secondary school infrastructure projects and capacity building interventions to enhance better management of senior secondary schools.