A drum roll compliments of the Guyana Police Force Band signaled the start of the auspicious moment when Guyana, through the Ministry of Education, officially honoured the top performers of the 2014 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, who were named among the top regional performers.
Guyana was this year able to secure four of the eight top regional awards offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) for the examination this year. Among the outstanding performers honoured yesterday was Elisa Hamilton who, with her 19 Grade Ones and 1 Grade Two, was named the overall top performer at both the national and regional levels.
Also honoured yesterday were Hamilton’s schoolmates, Aliyyah Abdul Kadir, who with 13 subjects was named the Region’s Best Performer in Humanities, and Ryhan Chand with 13 subjects, who was named the Region’s Best Performer in Business Education.
Kishan Critchlow of the New Amsterdam Secondary School was recognised as the Region’s Best Performer in Technological/Vocational Education. He secured passes in 12 subjects.
The top regional performers were all presented with awards by Head of State, President Donald Ramotar, which was in fact the high point of the Ministry of Education’s 18th National Award Ceremony held yesterday at the National Cultural Centre. The awards ceremony, which is held annually, is listed among the activities to mark Education Month.
Hamilton was also named Best Senior Secondary School performer along with her classmates Larissa Wiltshire (who was also named Best Science Performer), Lisa John, Sarah Hack, Varsha Boodram and Aliyyah Abdul Kadir. Also awarded yesterday were the top performers of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) including: Best Performer Deowattie Narine; Cecil Cox, Andy Sattan, Prashat Shivdas, Keleshwar Singh and Benedict Sukra, all of Queen’s College.
The awards secondary also saw the Best CSEC Junior Secondary Performers being honoured including: Bharti Bhoge and Tressyia Ketwaroo both of Skeldon Line Path Secondary; Walicia Deokinanan of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan and Natasha Alladin of the J. C. Chandisingh Secondary School.
The awardees also included top National Grade Six Assessment performers Jorrel DeSantos of the New Guyana School; Aliah Mohamed of the School of the Nations and Ravi Singh of the Westfield Prep.
Top performers of the Carnegie School of Home Economics, the Government Technical Institute, the Cyril Potter College of Education, and the Special Needs Programme in the person of Rosemarie Ramitt of the Blind Institute, were also among those honoured yesterday.
Awards were also given to the most Improved Primary School – Rama Krishna Primary; Most Improved Junior Secondary Schools – East Ruimveldt and Zeeburg Secondary and the Most Improved Senior Secondary School – President’s College.
President Ramotar who was tasked with delivering the keynote speech at the event yesterday wasted no time in informing those gathered at the Cultural Centre that “I am very, very proud of our achievements so far in education.”
He amplified his conviction too that Government’s investment in education is in fact an investment in the future of the nation.
“That has always been the case…and in the world that we live in today it is truer than ever before….” said President Ramotar, as he noted that at many fora he has underscored that the most important factor for development is the people.
In fact, he disclosed that although historically Guyana has proven that it has talented people who can stand with the best in the world, it was described only two decades ago as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC). According to him, that state of affairs coincided with a period of time when Guyana hadn’t even realized universal primary education and was very far away from making universal secondary education possible.
“Over the years we have moved from that status to being described more as a middle income and developing country…we intend in our lifetime to see our country being described as a developed country and that is why we have to build the human capital,” the Head of State asserted.
Moreover, he called on the top performers of the nation to take up the mantle in order to move the country forward.
“Today while we rejoice with you in your successes and the achievements that we have made in such a wide variety of areas, I want you to see this as the beginning, as the first step, as the foundation that is being laid and never be satisfied with this achievement. You have to grow to greater heights, because that is where you will make your mark in whatever field you eventually find yourself; that is where you will make a great contribution to the development of our country or wherever life may take you,” President Ramotar added.
He continued his deliberation by noting that Queen’s College, which is currently celebrating 170 years of existence, is perhaps one of the secondary institutions to have contributed considerably in this regard. In fact he speculated that the institution is perhaps the lone secondary school in the world “that has provided so much of top notch professionals; provided such class of people not only for our country but anywhere you go you will find graduates from Queen’s College participating in making a better life wherever they are,” said the President prompting a resounding bout of applause from the audience.
Moreover, the President went on to disclose that Government’s objective is to ensure that all secondary schools of the nation are equivalent to the premier education institution.
The ceremony yesterday, too, saw Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, amplifying the gains made in the sector over the years. She however did not fail to acknowledge the fact that the performances that have been forthcoming could not have been possible without keen collaboration with the teachers within the schools along with parents and the input of communities as a whole.
“Thank you very much for the work that you have done to bring our children to this stage,” said the Education Minister as she considered the efficacy of the policies and programmes implemented by the Ministry to improve the results that have been forthcoming. Such measures, she noted, have been instrumental in ensuring that the delivery of education has been done in a very equitable way. This has resulted, she highlighted, in outstanding performers emerging from various sections of the country.
The awards ceremony, which also contained entertaining performances by students, embraced the education month’s theme “Literate by Grade Four through consistent home, school and community involvement.”
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