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|In historic announcement of NGSA results|
|Thursday, 28 June 2012 22:33|
Ministry pleased with results --male students’ performances improved - Manickchand
-- calls for more parent/community involvement
EDUCATION Minister Priya Manickchand said she, and by extension the Education Ministry, is pleased with the results and performances of students who sat the 2012 National Grade Six Assessment Examinations (NGSA). The minister made those comments during a press conference held at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) in Kingston on Thursday, hours after she stood in the National Assembly on Wednesday night and announced that the results were out and that 32 students had placed in the top ten positions.
Minister Manickchand said she was also pleased that the top one percent of the grades was not concentrated in one area of the country, but was shared by all regions of the country. She said that, overall, there seems to be improvements in the results, based on initial reporting from officers.
Additionally, the minister pointed out that the Education Ministry has also noted improvements among male students at the examinations.
According to Manickchand, the ministry has been able to phase out the sixth-year transition in at least three secondary schools. That formerly was used to target students who enter secondary schools but had to join that form to come up to speed with the level of the other children.
Minister Manickchand said that while there has been much hurrah about the top ten placers, focus must also be placed on the other children, who in many cases have stories that are very touching. She explained that their account of how they were able to be successful at the examination includes the struggle by parents, brothers, grandparents and others who helped them along the way.
Minister Manickchand advised those children who did not place in the top ten to stay focused, as this is just but one step in their lives. She added that there are lots of other opportunities which speak to the development of children which they can access.
The minister explained to the media that, based on the top performers’ accounts, and reports of the ministry of Education, parents are increasingly getting involved in the affairs of their children’s school lives, and this is assisting the process and performances of students in a big way. She reminded that the ministry cannot do the work alone, and as players on the field, it becomes helpful to the team.
The minister underscored the need to celebrate teachers, parents, and those who continue to play roles in the school lives of the future generation. She asserted that there are areas in the country where some teachers are working under some conditions that are not of the best, but they are still able to have children who can place in the top one hundred. She pointed to a case where one of the schools in the hinterland made some major achievements at this year’s examinations.
Asked to analyse the performances of students in the areas of mathematics and English language, Minister Manickchand said that information was not readily available, but the ministry is working to get it. She added that once completed, the information would be made available to the media.
The minister explained that the information was not yet available because it was only Wednesday that the ministry released the results, and over the next few weeks, all the other final works and studies in relation to the exams will be carried out.
Asked why Region 6 did not place in the top ten this year, and if low attendance at school, among other things was responsible, the Education Minister said the problems in Region 6 are not unique to that region.
Minister Manickchand, in speaking on the issue of placements, which is always an issue that the ministry has to deal with every year, said that while the ministry would like to be able to place each child where he or she wants to be placed, or where parents request, that cannot happen. She explained that spacing issues is one factor hindering that practice, and the issue of fairness to students.
Touching on the issue of private schools, the Education Minister explained that these are welcomed by the administration once they perform in the best interest of the children. She added that parents have the right to decide which school they should send their children, and pointed out that once the schools are doing well, it is not a problem for the minister, because it remains a part of the country’s education system.
She said that once the country is going to have private schools, “we want them to perform and do well. The thing is that if we shut all the private schools down, then the results will be coming out of government schools.(Mr.) Success was always in the public school system, up until two years ago, and we are going to be tapping into his skills and such like, he and others in the private school system. We hope to have them at workshops and such like, (but) it will not be paid, and we are not sure.”
She noted that while some people may perceive that the private schools do better than the government schools, should the percentage of passes be tabulated, the private schools would be fighting a losing battle.
The minister noted that private schools do not, in many cases, do it all alone, since they have students among their student population who still see it necessary to take extra lessons at other private schools and lessons.
Ms. Manickchand also stressed that most of the students who are apart of private schools would have received their foundation in education from the public school system. The media asked the minister if the successes shown by students who attend private schools were an indication that the public school system needed to step it up.
In responding, the minister, while openly praising the Success Elementary School, pointed out that the director of the school was part of the public school system up until two years ago. Should private schools across the country close their doors, the public system would do well at the exams, because they will be reintegrated in the system.
The minister said her ministry would be exploring ways to engage the teachers of those private schools that continue to do well.
Chief Executive Officer Olata Sam explained that the ministry was aware of the statements in the public domain that some private schools tend to pull high flyers from the government school system, whom they expect to do well at exams, and encourage them to start schooling at the private institutions. He explained that the ministry is also aware that there is the talk out there that these are the very students who do good at the exams, and the private schools gets the credit.
The notion of these very students falling back and being unable to cope when they move on to the secondary level in some national schools was put to the CEO, whose explanation was, that the ministry had been keeping track of the performers at the grade six examinations to see how they have been performing in the secondary schools.
He admitted that there are cases where children are placed into the national schools but do not perform as expected. The CEO said they are currently conducting analyses to determine how they will be addressing the issue without disadvantaging the students. He added that there needs to be a change in the thinking approach that only examinations can determine the potential growth, development and academic success of students.
He made reference to students who did not make the marks to enter into one of the national schools, but still were able to show improvement in their work.
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