Wards of the State shine in 2023 PEP exam

THE Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) on Wednesday applauded students in State care who completed the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) and will be matriculating to high school.

The top girl was placed at Bishop Gibson High School in Manchester, while the top boy will be attending Jamaica College in St Andrew.

Speaking during the PEP Workshop and Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams noted that 185 students in State care, 75 boys and 110 girls, sat the 2023 PEP exams.

“Of that number, 59 girls and 35 boys received a final score above 210 points and this accounts for about 51 per cent of the total who sat the exam. Of note, there are 10 children, eight girls and two boys, who received a final score above 300 points. The highest score that you can get on PEP is 360, so scoring 300 is awesome,” said Williams.

She underscored that education plays a pivotal role in shaping the lives of children and it is the ministry’s responsibility to ensure that the youngsters receive the best possible provisions and support in this regard.

Williams noted that the CPFSA spends just over $40 million annually on tuition and examination fees for students enrolled in educational institutions up to the tertiary level.

“The Government will continue to enforce our duty to protect and serve our children who are wards of the State. To the parents, caregivers, and educators, your unwavering support has nurtured the seeds of success. Let us be reminded that today is a reflection of the future that we are creating together,” added Williams.

In the meantime, CPFSA Director of Programmes Dr Warren Thompson urged parents and guardians to continue offering love, attention, and guidance to students as they transition to high school.

“They need you to listen to them, now more than ever. They will need positive discipline to guide and correct them when they are wrong, and they need a safe space to share when they are hurt and shaken by their new adolescent worlds,” said Dr Thompson.

He added that there is no rule book for parenting and encouraged parents and guardians to reach out to guidance counsellors, fellow parents, or the CPFSA for support.

Dr Thompson also charged the PEP awardees to remain dedicated as they transition to a new chapter in their educational journey.

“You have put in incredible work to make it this far and we are extremely proud of you. Remind yourselves that you are capable, God is with you, you are enough, you are creative, brave, and kind. Believe in yourselves and you can achieve anything,” Dr Thompson underscored.

Prior to the awards ceremony, concurrent breakout sessions were held on principles of effective parenting.

Another session, dubbed ‘I stepped to PEP’, focused on preparing students for the transition to high school.