After decades, the Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (CWSS) in Linden has achieved Sixth Form status and recognition has been given to the efforts of its Princi-pal Cleveland Thomas.
According to a press release from the Department of Public Information (DPI), the school, which was built under former President Linden Forbes Burnham, was once known as the lowest rated school in Linden as its academic performance plummeted during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Principal Cleve-land Thomas, who was appointed in 2004, led the massive transformation.
Today, CWSS is competing against Linden’s premier school Mackenzie High, for the region’s top-ranking secondary school title. In 2015, for the first time in decades, CWSS won seven of the top ten places in Region Ten for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and repeated the performance in 2017.
According to a release from the Ministry of Education, it has attained Sixth Form status, previously only held by Mackenzie High School in Linden. CWSS will now be able to accommodate many Linden students who wish to pursue the Caribbean Advancement Proficiency Level. The ministry stated that the move was another step towards closing the gap in education delivery across Guyana.
The subjects which will be taught for the September 2018 CAPE Programme at CWSS, are Geometrical & Mechanical Engineering Drawing, Electrical & Electronic Technology, Computer Science and Pure Mathematics. This ultimately would lead to an Associate Degree in Technical Studies from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Additionally, such pursuits will allow for exemptions from courses at the University of Guyana (UG) should the students go on to the tertiary institution.
According to the ministry, the CWSS has one of the strongest technical vocational education programmes in Region Ten, as is evident by the CSEC results. The school is equipped with four large workshops and two Information Technology (IT) laboratories to offer the multilateral programme.
The school is a Grade B institution, with a matriculation rate that ranks high among the listed Grade A schools in Guyana. Matriculation is defined by CXC as a pass of at least five CSEC subjects, at one sitting, at Grades I to III, including English A and Mathematics.
Over the past five years, the school has recorded a consistent improvement in student matriculation. In 2013, only 29 percent of the CSEC candidates matriculated, while in 2017, 48 percent matriculated. Thirty-one percent (seventy-two) of the students, who matriculated from the CWSS over the past three years, were from the Industrial Technology Department (ITD). In 2015 and 2016, 83% of the candidates passed and in 2017, all the candidates – 100 % – passed.
“I am happy to know what the teachers would have been fighting for since 2005 has finally come to pass, and in September 2018 we will be getting a Sixth Form, it is a satisfying feeling,” Thomas was quoted as saying in the DPI statement. He noted that the transformation of the school, though not at an end, has gone a far way, while adding that it a satisfying and rewarding feeling.
According to the DPI statement, Thomas noted that the teachers and students will have to ensure that the school lives up to the standard since there is a responsibility which comes with the new status. He is confident, however, that he will get the support, although he is the only member of staff with prior experience teaching the sixth form.
Five of the teachers have successfully read for their degrees in the Industrial Technology (IT) field and the others are trained teachers who have also acquired certificates at the Government Technical Institute (GTI). Teachers are also trained in the fields of Communication Studies and Caribbean Studies.
The CWSS is undergoing extensive rehabilitation which is expected to be completed in time for September, at the cost of $229 million. The departments which are benefiting from this project are the Home Economics, Science, Industrial, Visual Arts and Technical Departments. Funds have also been allocated for the purchasing of equipment for these departments, including the Woods Department.