Survey of Living Conditions paints dismal picture of low exam passes

THE results of the 2018 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions have revealed that for people 14 years and older who were not enrolled in school or any educational institution, 60 per cent had no examination passes.

The findings of the survey, the results of joint research conducted by Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) was made public last Wednesday. The 2018 sample comprised 4, 547 households and 13,109 individuals.

The data indicate that among the 60 per cent of persons aged 14 and over, majority — 68.7 per cent — were people who lived in rural areas.

Among the 14 and over age group, 45.9 per cent passed five or more CSEC subjects and 40.1 per cent had passes in both mathematics and english Language.

Suzette Johnson, director of policy research unit, social policy planning and research division at the PIOJ, said these people supply our labour force and 25.9 per cent reported having some form of academic qualification that would allow them to enter and advance in the workforce.

Johnson said: “[Approximately] 21.6 per cent had at some point enrolled in a skills training programme while 60 per cent reported having no certification. For those in the prime working age, that is persons 25 to 54 years, the proportions were slightly better.”

However, the written overview of the 2018 JSLC survey, which was disseminated to the media, states that for people in the prime working age, 65.4 per cent had no examination passes while 14.6 per cent had CXC General, GCE O’Level and 11.7 per cent had a form of post-secondary or tertiary qualification.

Furthermore, enrolment exceeded 95 per cent for people three to 16 years, indicating that enrolment at the Early Childhood level through to Grade 11 was near universal.

Regarding overall enrolment for people 17–18 years, Johnson said enrolment was 67.8 per cent, compared with 66.7 per cent in 2017. However, Johnson said the disparity was greatest at quintile five, registering 22.5 percentage points above quintile four.

For those 19–24 years, Johnson said overall enrolment was 15.9 per cent relative to 16.8 per cent in 2017. Enrolment among the poorest (quintile 1) was 5.4 per cent, with quintile five being five times higher.

Meanwhile, in relation to attendance, Johnson said 74 .2 per cent of children were sent to school every day and when absent, the main reasons were illness, money problems and rain.

“Among students in the poorest quintile, 38.5 per cent reported illness as the main cause for absence, while 32.2 per cent was for money problems and 11.9 per cent said rain. Among those in the wealthiest quintile, more than half indicated that illness was the main reason, 11.6 per cent indicated rain and 5.7 per cent money problems,” Johnson said.

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