Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain has lauded Hillsborough Secondary School (HHS) of the sister isle of Carriacou which got the highest percentage pass of 88% and St. Mark’s Secondary School for doing exceedingly well in the 2017 CSEC examinations.
Addressing reporters at the weekly held post-Cabinet Briefing at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens, Minister Boatswain singled out these two schools for mention since they are usually placed on the back burner in educational performances.
“I want to give special commendation to two schools that did relatively well because these schools are not traditionally included in what we refer to as the Ivy League schools in Grenada and I think that’s important because we tend to differentiate between schools which I do not believe in”, he said.
“I believe that every school has the same quality teachers but we must identify St. Mark’s Secondary and Hillsborough Secondary in Carriacou…the two schools that have done very well”, he added.
The Education Minister announced that the pass rate at HSS was higher to that of powerhouse schools like St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, Presentation Brother’s College (PBC) and Anglican High School (AHS) which got the second highest pass rate.
Boatswain said: “It tells us that we cannot single out certain schools (by saying) …well this is a better school…this is the point I want to make. Every school has the potential to do well and we have seen it in Hillsborough Secondary as well as St. Mark’s Secondary, a school that is better known for its sporting and technical education expertise but we see them doing well in the wide spectrum as well. So we want to commend them.”
However, the Minister stressed that he was not very happy with the overall results of the 2017 CSEC examinations and pointed at the poor performances in key subject areas of Maths and English.
“I notice that there has been a slight reduction in the overall pass rate from 69.7% last year to 69.5% this year. It’s small but yet it is a reduction and the intention should be to improve, not any kind of reversal of performance and this to me is not good enough.
“It must be observed that our performance in both Maths and English continues to be under par … something that is of great concern to the Ministry of Education, to the government and to our country because we know that Maths and English or literacy and numeracy are the two key pillars of the education system and if we are not doing well in those two areas, it means that overall we can’t be doing well and this is of concern to us.
Minister Boatswain lamented the fact that many students will be kept out of T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) because they do not possess the basic requirement of Maths and English to enter the island’s only state-provided tertiary institution.
He went on: “Something that is not satisfactory is that 40% of the students, who wrote the examination, got the minimum of five subjects with Maths and English. So, it means that 60% of the students who wrote the examinations cannot matriculate into TAMCC because they do not have the basic requirement.
“… So you see what is happening there, we have a large pool of our students who would be out there and not being able to move forward unless they take remedial work, remedial courses and this is not good…” he said.
On the flip side, Minister Boatswain reported that for the first time Grenada has introduced E-Testing where 14 subjects were offered online and a very good performance was recorded in Technical Drawing and Information Technology.
This, he said should be the direction education ought to move towards in the future.