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Education

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Dr. Wayne D. Murray

I could help but once again see how the Education Ministry is but one of our greatest obstacles to providing a proper education to our population. I have lamented over and over how at the level of the Ministry of Education focus seems too much on “top Schools” and “top performing students”, resulting in poor advances in the education process.

The release of the Preliminary CPEA results to the media for publishing on Saturday is such an example of what I consider trophy education — who gets the trophy. The preliminary results in essence noted whom were the top individual performers and their schools. The truth is that that in itself is not a problem as persons and institutions should be given recognition when and where due. The problem is that whereas the victors could sleep well over the next two nights the other 1704 students and their families are left with anxiety.

All parents, like myself, would and should strive for our children to be the best, likewise each school would like its students to be top and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that concept. The problem stems from the Ministry of Education being the manager of the system getting into practices that operate as if only the students and schools at the top that matters. I would expect better from them as they have a responsibility to all students and schools. I can only imagine how principals of primary schools were feeling, knowing that parents would be calling them every minute and possibly storming the school on Monday demanding results.

I am of the belief that the results should be made available with a release noting the top performers and schools can be done so simultaneously on a day of regular hours, Monday to Friday. This will not take away from the recognition given to exemplary performances but in the notion that all students deserve to know on the same day what their results are in keeping with good practice. Preliminary results, in my view, must not note named individual performances and not done on a weekend.

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The Ministry of Education must focus more on general performance of the students in total. What if a student is in the top 10 and from the same school or class in which most are performing at or below average? This must be the concern of the ministry to see if, indeed, the school and the students have the resources to lift that performance. Even at the level of the classroom, it seems that better performers in the classroom dictate the pace of teaching hence a major problem of stragglers (If I am wrong, I apologise).

The Ministry of Education has a lot to re-structure and this blunder is one to correct. I personally believe that a significant drive has to be placed on reading, in particular, at the early primary level and drop all those “projects” given to be done by none other than parents and especially those with more resources excelling. A child that can read independently well at 9 years old should be the goal as teaching and learning would be much easier. There is a stage called secondary school and primary school to prepare for functioning at the next level and not compete with it!

To the students who had to wait through the weekend to know their results, note that grounds not attained in primary level can be accomplished and surpassed on the secondary level. Likewise, the achievers must continue to work hard to continue at excelling!

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