Nov 25, 2015 News
Six months after Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine said he “would like to see concentration on fewer (CSEC) subjects,” by students, the Minister in an interview with this publication stated that the Ministry “will not be issuing an edict about how many subjects children can do.”
When asked whether the issue was no longer a concern for the Ministry, the Minister jocularly responded “I believe that if you keep the students busy enough they won’t have so much time or energy to do so many subjects.”
“I think students really have to see education, and get used to the idea of education, as more than examinations. If you can have that kind of thing to ensure they are kept really busy in schools, I really don’t think one would have to worry about how many subjects they are doing in schools and make rules for it.”
Instead, the Minister revealed, the Ministry will be focusing on trying to incorporate a wider educational experience. As such, more focus will be put on school choirs and sports. Before this, however, the Ministry will be doing a curriculum review, and based on the results, decisions will then be made in relation to the curriculum for primary and lower schools.
The Minister related that while he would like to see orchestras in each school, it is not feasible at this time. It is hoped that there can be a choir competition for the country’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration.
In relation to sports, the Minister said that he would like to see facilities being upgraded and maintained so that children “will have more time to spend on extracurricular activities.”
School should not be just about passing examinations, said Roopnaraine, children should be provided with a rounded education so that when they reach to the University level, “you get a well-rounded, well equipped 21st century person.” That, he said, remains the fundamental aim of the education ministry.
In May of this year, Roopnaraine had stated that he would be looking at furthering discussions with relevant senior officers of his Ministry in an attempt to limit the amount of subjects students can write.
“I believe that this multitude of subjects that students are doing, we will have to have a look at that. Frankly, it has always bugged my mind to know how a student can be doing 18 subjects and more,” Roopnaraine had said.
The pressure of doing a vast number of subjects, Roopnaraine opined, “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.”
Former Minister of Education Priya Manickchand had, during her tenure, expressed the view that the writing of a large number of subjects could aid and prepare students for their roles as future leaders. She had stated that often, students feel as if doing a small amount of subjects does not challenge them enough.
“They are excellent, they are good, and so they feel they need to do as wide subject entries as possible,” explained Manickchand.
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