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Scrap Grade Six exam, improve access to good quality education- CDB official

Caribbean Development Bank’s Director of Economics, Justin Ram

The Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Director of Economics, Justin Ram on Friday recommended the scrapping of the National Grade Six Assessment, even as he urged Guyana to be wary of a reduced population by 2100.

Addressing the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s launch of the 10th edition of Business Guyana titled ‘Guyana: Potential Unleashed’, he commended the Barbados government for ending the assessment known there as 11-plus. “Is there still an eleven-plus examination here in Guyana? I would want to recommend to you to get rid of that,” he said.

He said all students must have access to good quality education rather than the “few” who are successful at the National Grade Six Assessment also known as 11-plus or Common Entrance examination. “Ensure that everyone has good quality education. It shouldn’t be the case that at age 11 your life chances are made up; too often I see that across the Caribbean,” said Ram.

But, he said it was not only about getting rid of the exam but about ensuring that secondary schools have access to the best quality education through the use of technology. “It means that wherever a student is, he can have access to the best tutors,” he said. The CDB official recommended that Guyana invests some of its oil earnings in improving the quality of education.

Ram urged Guyana to take note that by 2100, Guyana’s population , which currently stands at about 745,000, would be reduced by 25 percent. “The reason for this decline is migration and, of course, we are having less births and the problem here is that you are going to have a much older population and so there will be a greater burden on the working population of Guyana,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Guyanese live in Canada, United States, Britain and several Caribbean islands.

Quality Education, aimed at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, is one of UNESCO’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member States on recognising that “ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.”