May 30, 2015 News
The increasing number of subjects written by students at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination level could be up for revision if Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, is allowed to have his way.
He, during an interview with this publication recently, disclosed, “I believe that this multitude of subjects that students are doing we will have to have a look at that. Frankly, it has always really bugged my mind to know how a student can be doing 18 subjects and more.”
According to the Minister, he is of the firm belief that school cannot only be about classrooms and subjects, but about other things as well. “Schools have to be about theatre and music and all kinds of things that make for a rounded education. It cannot be about children rushing from the classroom to extra lessons, and beating themselves in the head because they have to pass all these subjects with handsome grades…” added the Minister.
The pressure of doing a vast number of subjects, the Minister said, “is really not a very healthy learning environment, so I would like to see a concentration on fewer subjects and a concentration on wider cultural educational experience.” This is the untested view of the Minister who said, that he will be looking to further discussions in this regard with the relevant senior officers of his Ministry.
But former Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, had only last year expressed her view that writing a wide variety of subjects could in fact, help to ensure that students are thoroughly prepared for the leadership capacity they are expected to embrace later in life.
She had pointed out then, that while there are students who do few subjects it may not be a challenge to them. “They are excellent, they are good and so they feel they need to do wide subject entries as possible,” explained the then Education Minister
This is in spite of the fact that the matriculation rate recommended by the Ministry of Education is a mere five CSEC subjects including Mathematics and English. And Manickchand, who herself wrote seven subjects, said, “We encourage students to write five to eight subjects.”
In fact she had even disclosed that if the parents of these students do not have the wherewithal to pay their examination fees, Government was providing millions of dollars in subsidy for just this purpose.
However, she asserted that a student choosing to access the subsidy facility must prove that they are competent to write the number of subjects they have opted for.
And based on the results that the Ministry has been seeing in recent years, Manickchand had amplified her conviction that “students who have been writing the many subjects have been doing fantastically well.”
“Why would we want to limit them when they have that capacity?” she had questioned.
When questioned by this publication on the matter too, Registrar of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Dr. Didacus Jules, said that while he is aware of calls being made to limit the number of subjects candidates write at CSEC, the matter has not come up for deliberation at the level of CXC.
“We don’t consider it to be a matter under CXC’s purview; this is a matter for parents, the schools and ultimately the Ministry,” said Dr Jules, during an interview.
However, he said, “our view on it is that you should not put a limit on people’s capacity; whatever subject you feel you can do you ought to be allowed to do.”
The CXC Registrar underscored though, that one factor that must remain clear, is that the number of subjects that are undertaken does not determine whether a candidate is able to secure the status of top regional performer. “That is the bottom line,” asserted Dr. Jules.
But even as consideration is being given to the number of subjects students are allowed to write, Minister Roopnaraine disclosed that plans are in the making for a more exciting experience in the public education system.
This, he said, is aimed at encouraging children to remain enrolled thereby allowing for a reduction in the dropout rate. And the tactic that will be implemented to realise this ambitious goal, could very well adopt some principles from yesteryear.
“I have some ideas how that can be done,” said Dr. Roopnaraine, who revealed that his ideas are being drawn from a time when he attended school.
He pointed out that while the system then can be faulted for not offering an equitable education, “I had the good fortune of growing up in a Guyana with a different kind of education system…the fact of the matter is, the standards were extremely high.”
He related that during that time Guyana was the envy of not just the Caribbean, but the entire colonial world in terms of the development of its education system and schools. “I would like us to return to a point where the education system in Guyana, the quality of our education, its output and so on again becomes the envy of the Region. I think that it is within our capacity to do it,” asserted the Education Minister.
Jul 25, 2021Kaieteur News – Former national youth player Devon Ramnauth hit a responsible, unbeaten 48 to lead Essequibo Coast Cricket Club to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Bacchus Ruff Ryder last...
Jul 25, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Jul 25, 2021
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has replied to my “constant banging,” that is, my consistent... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]