A nine percent increase in performance in Mathematics at the 2014 Caribbean Examinations Council Examinations (CSEC) has been deemed the best Guyana has ever done in the subject.
The CSEC results that were announced today by Minister of Education Priya Manickchand showed that Mathematics recorded 38.7 percent passes in Grades One to Three, as opposed to 28.92 percent in 2013.
Meanwhile the overall results of the examinations recorded an improvement in several other subject areas including English. The grade one to three performances in English A saw a marginal increase from 45.69% in 2013 to 46.98% in 2014 while performance in English B remained relatively constant.
Minister Manickchand explained that in other parts of the Caribbean, students are only allowed to write Mathematics and English if they pass a pre-test; pointing out that every child in Guyana, regardless of performance, is allowed to write the subjects.
Asked whether the automatic promotion policy impacted on the results of 2014, the Minister responded that if it did “it was a positive impact because these are some of the best results ever seen.”
She also pointed out that Mathematics recording about 39% pass rate is the highest Guyana has ever seen, and this meant that students would have benefitted from the policy.
Describing the pilot project implemented in 2012 to improve poor performances in English and Mathematics, the Minister attributed the improvements recorded partially to the project. “Let’s take East Ruimveldt Secondary, 4% of their students last year passed mathematics… this year 41% of their students passed… these kinds of remarkable improvements didn’t happen by magic… the pilot project has done remarkably well, and I think it is worthy of a national rollout,” Manickchand said.
The programme was implemented in 41 schools when Guyana like the rest of the region, had concerns about the poor performance recorded in Mathematics and English. Minister Manickchand explained that the implementation of the pilot project involved giving the students extra materials whilst training and retraining the teachers. It also ensured that students’ competency levels were constantly checked and those pilot schools have recorded remarkable improvements.
In Mathematics, the Santa Rosa Secondary school moved from a 5% pass in 2013 to 13% in 2014. Abram’s Zuil Secondary moved from 30% to 50%, Johanna Cecilia Secondary moved from 9% to 20%, Zeeburg Secondary from 30% to 65%, Patentia Secondary from 26% to 42%, Annandale Secondary from 60% to 78%, Hope Secondary from 31% to 43%, Bush Lot Secondary from 2% to 27%, J. C. Chandisingh Secondary from 34% to 61%, Berbice Secondary from 46% to 63%, 3 Miles Secondary 21% to 44%, St. Ignatius Secondary 8% to 17% and the East Ruimveldt Secondary from 4% to 41%.
In order to move the unsatisfactory performance a new five-year strategic plan for literacy will be launched in September in the primary sector where the work begins. There will also be a new nursery programme which will aim to make children more numerate and ensuring that the foundation is in place.
The Minister explained that serious efforts are ongoing to ensure good and sustained grades are achieved. She added that it would be a constant effort and needed the cooperation of teachers, parents and students along with the Ministry, to ensure that it works.