A church in Jamaica has been offering free exam classes to adult students with the message ‘Jesus plus education equals success’.
The outreach ministry, with over 300 students successfully sitting the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) examinations boast a 75 per cent success rate with a number of returning students who would've attained passes in multiple subject areas in previous years.
Covering subject areas – including Mathematics, English, Information Technology, Principles of Business, Principles of Accounts, Social Studies, and Human and Social Biology, the Mountain View New Testament Church of God Academy is offering the courses that could lead to CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) level qualifications. The programme, established in 2016, is heavily supplemented by the church's treasury as well as donations from members of the congregation – there’s no tuition fee.
The programme requires a minimal registration fee of $3,500 to pursue up to three subjects, and $500 for each additional subject, with a fund-raiser also used to generate funds with students coming from communities including St Catherine, rural St Andrew and others outside eastern Kington.
“It is our intention to continue to offer this educational service free to interested citizens. We continue to pursue spiritual and academic excellence,” says Principal Samantha Bennett.
“We have nine educators, three of whom are paid, and are non-members of our congregation. The other six are members of the congregation and work voluntarily.
“The one-year programme runs from September to May or June of the following year, although we do have a two-year programme for mathematics and English which provides foundational skills to students who did not complete formal secondary education, have learning difficulties and require additional academic support.
“Some students have been at the academy over four school years, sitting new subjects, or seeking to redo a subject they were not successful in.” Over 85 per cent of the students, who did not complete high school, are adults with age groups of 20s to 30s, 30s to 40s, and 50 and 60.