Although there has been an increase in the number of students attending extra lessons, this has not resulted in an increase in passes in Mathematics and English, according to new Education Minister Priya Manickchand.
She made this comment on Saturday during a meeting with parents and students at the Bush Lot Secondary School, in Region Five, which will be one of 32 secondary schools throughout the country participating in a pilot project to reverse sagging performances in Mathematics and English at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. On the same day she also visited other schools in the region as well as in Region Six that were identified to be part of the pilot project.
“Lessons have not been working as they should,” Manickchand said, while adding that the ministry has “found the solution.” According to her while there has been an increase in the pass rate for English, only 30% of the students have passed Mathematics.
She said her ministry “cannot accept that 70% of the students would fail” and that it “wants to change that.”
Parents were happy with the initiative and indicated their willingness to support the project, which was to have started from yesterday for one week during which time teachers would conduct classes in both subjects for two hours each.
Teachers also thanked the minister for initiating the project and were “confident that it would work,” providing that they get the support from the students and parents.
They also expressed a willingness to spend extra time with the students to ensure that they are successful.
Manickchand told the students that they should make the effort to go to school early in the mornings, take shorter lunch breaks or to attend school on Sundays if the teachers want them to.
She also urged the students to give up the time they spend on video games, Facebook and texting during the examinations period and focus on getting good grades.
If they should text, she said, it should be in proper English and they should also “start thinking in English.”
The parents were also encouraged to spend more time with their children and avoid giving them too many chores so they can spend more time with their books.
To this end, each student from schools selected for the project would be given a study package that consists of items such as text books, past examination papers and “DVD players that revise the entire programme.”