Is it true that Waramuri Primary ‘Top’ produced seven of the ten ‘top’ students in the Moruca Sub-region of Region One each with passes in 10 subjects at CSEC 2018? I was pleasantly surprised when on 24/8/18 I read the article in an on-line edition of “Stabroek News”. The headmaster, teachers, students and their parents deserve our warmest congratulations.
Their achievement makes me recall the efforts of those headmasters who in the 1960s with the establishment of All-age Schools began to prepare students for the London GCE ‘O’ level examinations.
These schools previously had classes from Prep A to Standard 6. However, according to the teaching skills available in a school, the headmasters were encouraged to prepare students for the overseas examination in subjects like English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, English History, and Scripture. This practice was attempted in some primary schools in Georgetown and in some rural areas along the coastland. Later, these attempts were eliminated with the establishment of area Government Secondary Schools.
Further, the performance of Waramuri is highly commendable in light of the fact that the staff comprises Primary-trained teachers, and that the NGSA scores of their students on admission in 2013 were lower than the average score of students entering secondary schools in the south of Georgetown. Hence, we must ask questions about the performance of some discrete secondary schools (which admit students with higher NGSA scores). We must make comparisons with secondary schools up and down the country (Interior regions included).
Firstly, Waramuri Primary ‘Top’ would not have had Heads of Departments like discrete Secondary Schools, which can have up to eight or more HoDs. One would expect the HoD (especially a Graduate HoD) to be competent in content and methodology from Grades 7 to 11, in order to advise and scrutinize and co-ordinate the work of all teachers in his/her department.
Therefore, the teachers at Waramuri must be complimented for the students’ work from Grades 7 to 11.
Secondly, Waramuri does not have students in residence, like at Santa Rosa, Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, St. Ignatius, Annai, Aishalton, Paramakatoi, Bartica, Aurora, etc. I recall that at Port Kaituma Community School many moons ago, teachers were assigned for Home-Work duty from Sunday evening to Thursday evening. It was compulsory for all students in residence to attend.
Today, with more than a dozen schools (excluding President’s College) with dormitories, the Ministry of Education, after more than 50 years with Residential Schools, must have systems in place for the proper management of such schools. Moreover, the statistics of the performance of Residential students at examinations must be documented and analysed in the spirit of accountability for the millions of dollars expended annually for the dormitories of these schools.
Thirdly, while the Ministry of Education has taken initiatives to improve the performance at CSEC in English A and Mathematics, it would be useful to know whether Waramuri Primary School was included in the implementation of those initiatives.
Hence, the District Education Officer must report on the methods being used at Waramuri to obtain success. The Ministry of Education at the centre and the Education Departments in other regions need to know.
Fourthly, it is also useful to know whether Waramuri students were exposed to paid ‘extra’ lessons, like their counterparts in Georgetown and on the coastland. Although HMs do not state the extent and the role of paid ‘extra’ lessons in the achievements of their students when the examination results of a school are announced, the students and their parents know the cost and the tutors.
The tutors include some serving (not retired) teachers who do an incomplete job during normal hours in order to create a demand for the ‘extra’ lessons. Are Waramuri teachers guilty of this practice? The practice has bedevilled the education system for the past three decades!
Will increased teachers’ salaries stem the tide and arrest the problem? I doubt it. The solution is more a matter of honesty and integrity and professionalism on the part of the teachers. What is also disturbing is that students who sit at the feet of those ‘guilty’ teachers are inculcating the wrong values for life and living.
Therefore, once again heartfelt congratulations are extended to Waramuri students, and their teachers, who can sincerely boast that, “We mould the nation.”
Walter B. Alexander,
Former Administrator of SSRP
Brooklyn, New York
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