Education is the backbone of all sectors of the economy- Minister Baksh
Education Minister Shaik Baksh has underscored that education is the backbone of all sectors of the economy and the delivery of a quality education to the nation’s children remains a top most priority.
He expressed these sentiments to students, teachers, parents and regional education officials at a recent graduation ceremony for students of the Ignatius Secondary School, Region Nine.
Baksh praised the performance of both the teachers and students of the Grade ‘B’ School, pointing out that they have made the Ministry of Education proud as the Government is getting returns from its investments to ensure equity and delivery of quality education in the school system.
He also challenged the schools’ administrators to maintain the outstanding performance and urged parents to continue to play a more integral role in their children’s education. The minister emphasized that his ministry is fully supportive of their efforts in this regard.
The school secured an overall pass rate of 73.18 per cent Grades One to Three and its top student Yusuf Abrahams obtained eight subjects, including three distinctions and four Grades One. Notably, he obtained a distinction in Mathematics and Grade One in English.
St. Ignatius Secondary emerged the top secondary school in Region Nine at this year’s examinations and in comparison with the other regions, Region Nine was ranked third in the country in terms of passes in Grades One to Three with 69.74 per cent, behind Georgetown with the highest pass rate of 76.50 per cent and Region Four with 73.35 per cent.
Also noteworthy of mention is that the students’ performance in Geography and Technical Drawing which were significantly better than most schools on the coastland and their pass rate of 71 per cent in English ‘A’ was above the national average of 59 per cent.
The pass rate of the school in Mathematics was unsatisfactory, but Baksh promised to assign an additional Mathematics teacher at the school with more support materials to reverse students’ performance in this area.
In addition, he said all hinterland students who secured four subjects and more with passes in Grades One to Three, but without Mathematics or English or both, will be eligible for free tuition to re-sit the examination(s) in January next year.
The objective of this intervention which is being done at a cost of $30M, the minister explained, is to ensure that more students from the hinterland regions are qualified to pursue higher education and benefit from similar opportunities at the disposal of coastland students.
On the whole, Baksh contended that the students’ performance reflects a positive outlook for Region Nine which will require skilled human resources to advance its developmental agenda. The region has been rapidly expanding in the areas of business and commerce, notably in Lethem where rice is being cultivated, oil exploration is on the table and an industrial site will soon come on stream.
He stressed that his vision is to prepare the region with the human resources to man these programmes and charter new areas of development, and the Ministry of Education has been doing so by making a concerted effort to ensure that students leave school with a quality secondary education and are qualified to embark on higher education.
The minister emphasized that the government remains committed to improve both equity and access to education and on that score disclosed that the Sand Creek Secondary School will open its doors in January next year and the ideal of building a secondary school as Karasabi is being examined.
He also urged the school’s headteacher Eyvette Archer to put measures in place for students to sit Information Technology (IT) as a subject at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and said that the ministry will provide training to teachers in this area if necessary.
The minister also noted
that all secondary schools from next year will be outfitted with IT laboratories with at least 30 systems each and by 2013, some 200 primary schools are expected to benefit in a similar manner.
Baksh underscored that the goal is to make ever child computer literate and for teachers to use the system as a teaching and learning tool in the delivery of their lessons.
Recently, President Bharrat Jadgeo had announced that some 90,000 laptops will be available to poor families, and according to the minister, this move will significantly aid his Ministry’s drive to ensure a more computer literate nation.
Region Nine Chairman Clarindo Lucas impressed upon the graduates that they have begun a new journey in their lives and should remain focused and seek to further their education.
He said that the region needs qualified human resources to advance development in the region and urged that they take up the challenge to be main players in this process.
The school’s headteacher, Evette Archer, Board Chairman Alfred Ramsarran and Regional Education Officer Owen Pollard also spoke at the event.
Minister Baksh was accompanied on the visit by Acting Chief Education Officer Roopnarine Tewari and Head of the Secondary Competency Certificate Programme (SCCP) Unit Aubrey Overton.