Press Release Leader Of The Opposition
NDP PRESS CONFERENCE
In the recent graduation ceremonies, I was again reminded of the poor performance of our secondary schools. Away from the high flyers in the top secondary schools like Grammar School, GHS and Thomas Saunders, a worrying picture is emerging.
Contrary to government’s boasts about the performance of our education system, the picture of failure looms large.
The number of children who enter secondary school give the false impression that a secondary education is available to all. But the stark reality is that in some schools, very little education is taking place.
Many children drop out before they reach form five and before the five years it would normally take to make that journey. I recently attended the graduation ceremony at the Bequia Community High School.
Only ten children graduated. Twenty-eight children started in Form 1, only eight of them graduated recently. Two others transferred in after Form 1, so a total of ten graduated.
What was also striking was the fact that of the ten children who graduated, there was only one boy! Of those who survived to write CSEC exams, we await their results and hope they did well. In our education system, it is the test that validates the student’s entire secondary school experience.
How can it be considered progress when one-third of the students did not survive to take the exam? Why are most of the children allowed to drop out before the complete secondary school? Why are there no programs geared to those likely to dropout early so that they might have a better chance of completing secondary school?
Urgent action is needed to address this serious problem. I spoke earlier about the terrible crime situation in the country: this is where it starts or at least gets its fuel.
We will be doing more and saying more about this in the near future.