The Minister of Education should give us the full statistics relating to this year’s National Grade Six Assessment

Dear Editor,

Kindly permit me space in your letters’ column to openly congratulate all the pupils who have recently gotten their National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) results. I urge them to continue to strive for higher achievements as they climb the educational ladder.

I was also happy to see the Minister of Education announcing the results of the top 1% of pupils across the country. She seemed quite ecstatic at those pupils’ performances as she announced those results. However, from information provided, we learnt that 16, 811 candidates were entered for this year’s examinations. Then it struck me! I wonder what happened to the results of the other 99% of pupils who also wrote the said examination?  Don’t we deserve to hear something about them? I don’t mean to have all those names published or announced, but at least we deserve to see some statistics to tell us how the country’s children performed at this crucial examination. Why is it that we are not hearing about the entire 16, 811 pupils and we are hearing only about the top pupils? I am not telling the Minister what she should or should not do, but at least we need to see some figures that represent the entire country and not just the top pupils.

What we saw were the highest possible standardized scores in the four core subjects, as well as the total maximum marks possible, along with some other statistics that represent the country’s top performers. At least we need to see something like this:  number of pupils entered to write examination; number of pupils present; number of pupils passed; number of pupils failed; % of pupils passed; % of pupils failed.  [Ed note: There is no ‘pass’ or ‘failure’ rate because technically the NGSA is not supposed to be an exam; for the overwhelming majority of pupils it is an “assessment” to indicate their progress, in conjunction with the Grades 2 and 4 Assessments. It functions as an exam for only a tiny proportion of pupils for the purpose of filling places in the senior secondary schools.]

It can also be done differently, but at least this would give us a broader picture of the results. I wonder if this is such a difficult task to do. Or is it a case where our children are performing so poorly that the Minister is afraid or ashamed to reveal the full statistics? Is it deliberate that only the top pupils are made public to polish up our already dysfunctional educational system? From what I gathered, I understand that only about 10% of the total number of pupils was actually placed into top secondary schools across the country. I may be wrong. However, if the full figures are revealed, this may help to dispel all doubts. I challenge the Minister of Education to give us the full statistics of this year’s results of the NGSA. As Guyanese parents and teachers, we deserve to see how our children are performing.

Yours faithfully,
J Tekchand

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