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Automatic Promotion helped improve CSEC performance- Manickchand

Education Minister, Priya Manickchand

Education Minister, Priya Manickchand on Tuesday partly attributed improvements in this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) to the Automatic Promotion System (APS) that prevents students from repeating grades or opting to drop out of school.

Manickchand told a news briefing after announcing top CSEC and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) performers that the APS impacted on the results this year. “If it had an impact, it was  a positive impact because these are some of the best results we have ever seen,” she said.

She singled out the 39 percent pass in Mathematics with Grades 1 to 3 as an example of improved performance. “These students would have gone through three years of automatic promotion,” she said.

APS provides for heavy remediation in subjects that students would have failed or performed less than satisfactory.  She further noted that during  APS, the school system was able to retain more than 2,000 students than before instead of dropping out.  “We believe that the Automatic Promotion had a direct impact on the number of students that stay in the school system,” she said.

With parents and students continuing to differ, demand and reject the APS, the Education Minister said government would in the coming weeks take a firm stance on the way forward.

“As a nation, we are going to have to decide what is it we really want, what is in the best interest of our students and do that and we will be finalizing what that will be over the next six weeks and making that very public,” Manickchand added.

The Education Minister acknowledged that scrapping of the APS has been put on hold because the system of repeating grades would result in overcrowding. “We are fully aware that if we have to keep children back one of the consequences will be overcrowding because what you will have is more students staying in a class rather than… so that will be one of the consequences,” she said.

Results released by the Ministry of Education show that the majority of CAPE’s top performers locally were from Queen’s College. They include Cecil Cox, Deowattie Naraine, Andy Sattan, Prashant Shivdat and Kalleshwar Singh. Queen’s College also topped CSEC with Alissa Hamilton’s achievement of 19 Grade Ones and one Grade 2.

Taking the number two spots are Skeldon Line Path Secondary’s Bharti Bhoge who gained 17 Grade Ones and Queen’s College’s Larissa Wiltshire with 17 Grade Ones.