Minister Baksh should advise schools that parents should have the final say on whether their child takes a CSEC subject

Dear Editor,

I write in general support of Mr M Sookraj whose letter headlined: ‘Why do schools not allow children to write CSEC Maths when parents pay fees?‘ appeared in SN of Friday, September 30, 2011.

I infer from Mr Sookraj’s letter that some students of a named secondary school were not allowed, by the school’s officials, to write Mathematics at the last CSEC examination, and Mr Sookraj wishes the Ministry of Education to give an explanation to the parents of those students.

I do not support that line of approach.  Instead, I call upon Education Minister Shaik Baksh to intervene in the matter and advise all schools that, whereas it is their duty and responsibility to advise parents in respect of such matters, in the end each parent should have the final say. It is the parents who will be paying the examination fees, hence they need to be advised by the school, and then they should be free to accept or reject that advice.  I also call upon SN to seek Minister Baksh’s views on the matter, and to publicise those views so that Mr Sookraj and other parents may know what the official position is at this time.

I note, with sadness, Mr Sookraj’s information about the fate of his son who some 20-odd years ago may have become a school drop-out because he was forced by his school to enter a particular stream of his school and do subjects he disliked.  My sympathy to Mr Sookraj.

Some 40 years ago, the teachers at the rather prestigious school that my son was attending in Georgetown refused to let him write Mathematics at the GCE examination on the ground that he would in all probability have failed and therefore would have affected the school’s statistics adversely.  My son appealed to me and I went and had a chat with the Principal.  We had a very amicable discussion, with inputs from the Mathematics teachers, and, in the end, the Principal conceded that the final decision was mine.

My son was entered for Mathematics along with other subjects.  After he wrote his examinations, I took him up to London, and when the examination results were declared, my son was the only student in the school who got a distinction in Mathematics that year.  I enrolled him in Grammar school in London, and in College the year after.  He took to Mathematics and statistics and computer technology like a duck to water, made mincemeat of the various exams he wrote, then joined the job market.  His company sent him to America to gain further insights, and later he went off to New Zealand and Australia where he has done extremely well.

I have not set eyes on him in some 40 years, but I thank the Great Architect of the Universe that I stood up for him when he needed me, and he was spared the experience of becoming a school drop-out like Mr Sookraj’s son.

My sympathy, again, to Mr Sookraj.

Now, over to you, Stabroek News!

Yours faithfully,
George N Cave