This year Guyana recorded what was said to be its highest ever pass rate at the secondary aspect of the CXC examinations, according to Minister of Education, Dr Nicolette Henry but key areas like Mathematics continue to see below par achievement.
This year the number of candidates who earned Grade 1s in eight or more subjects reached a whopping 251 students. Of that number 55 secured 12 or more Grade 1s but only Raina Toney of Anna Regina Secondary was declared top performer after she secured 19 Grade 1 passes.
Henry, delivering the results at NCERD in Kingston, noted that of the 11,467 students registered for 2019’s CSEC, 73% were able to achieve Grades 1 to 3 at the General and Technical proficiencies.
This pass rate is greater than the 64% regional pass rate recorded by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the “best recorded performance” of Guyana as a country.
In 2018 Guyana recorded an overall pass rate of 69.1% compared to 63.68% in 2017 and 63.39% in 2016.
Improved performance were recorded in 21 subject areas while seven subjects recorded the same pass rate as in 2018 and seven recorded poorer performances.
According to the Minister, 13 subjects recorded a pass rate of 90% or more. These include Agricultural Science (Double Award) with 99%, Religious Education with 100%, Information Technology with 98%, Physical Education and Sports with 100% and Industrial Technology- Electrical with 93.4%.
English A recorded a pass rate of 77% in 2019 a 10% increase from 67% in 2018 while Math remained constant at 43% and the Additional Mathematics pass rate increased from 68.4% in 2018 to 80% in 2019. Notably Guyana’s pass rate for Mathematics remains below the regional pass rate of 46%.
Also of note is the significant decline in the pass rate for English Literature for which 58.1% of students secured Grade I to Grade III passes. The subject had recorded a 78.6% pass rate in 2018 and 44.45% in 2017.
Of the seven subjects which saw a decline in performance, Literature recorded the steepest drop. The other six subjects were Caribbean History which moved from 72% to 68.1%, Economics which moved from 70 to 68%, Integrated Science which declined from 72.3% to 69.1%, Human and Social Biology which dropped from 72.4% to 62%, Textiles, Clothing and Fashion which moved from an 81.48% pass rate and French which moved from 79% to 73.1%.
Meanwhile the pass rates for Chemistry, Biology and Physics all improved. Biology moved from 64% to 77%. Chemistry recorded 62% as against 56.4% in 2018 while Physics recorded a pass rate of 70%, approximately 4% more than the 66.2% recorded in 2018.
For Business subjects, improved performances were recorded in Office Administration (AO), Principles of Accounts (POA) and Principles of Business (POB). AO recorded 87% while POA recorded 83% and POB recorded an 87% pass rate.
Electronic Documentation Preparation and Management (EDPM) maintained a constant pass rate of 97.2% in 2019 compared with 98% in 2018.
Interestingly Music which a mere 28.57% of candidates passed in 2018 was able to secure 100% passes in 2019.
Henry has advised students who performed well at the recently concluded examinations but did not earn the top spot to look beyond government for scholarship opportunities.
“Scholarships are offered not only through government but through other means. There are international scholarships being offered by the British at the Master’s level, there are Commonwealth Scholarships; even at our Ministry there are opportunities for scholarships. In relation to the scholarship based on CSEC performance…there will just be one top performer. That will continue to be competitive. For the others they are putting themselves in good stead to compete at the regional and international level,” Henry said in response to questions from Stabroek News.
Each year students attempt a larger number of subjects with the hope of being declared winner of the Presidential Scholarship which is offered to the top performer but hundreds are disappointed. The scholarship provides for the winner to pursue studies in any area at any university in the world, a much wider scope that the Public Service scholarships which only allow for overseas study if the programme is not offered at the University of Guyana and is proven to be useful to Guyana’s developmental goals.