Education Minister opposes students writing numerous CXC subjects

Last Updated on Saturday, 2 April 2016, 18:43 by Denis Chabrol

cxc_logoMinister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine  on Saturday said he is in strongly in favour of discouraging secondary school students from writing more than eight Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects because those who sit more than that number of exams are not benefiting from a rounded education.

“I am strongly in favour of whatever mechanism we can find to discourage the taking of so many subjects. I think eight subjects are ample where people can do the fundamental subjects- Math, English, Science and so on- that they need to do and have a better childhood,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Roopnaraine said the Ministry of Education’s  decision-makers were yet to discuss how the matter should be addressed but he was not in favour of students being robbed of extra-curricula activities. “I do not believe that students should spend all of their time regurgitating information. Children should be given a chance to grow. They should do music, they should do sport. They should do a lot more things…theatre in schools. There is a lot that children can be doing and they won’t be able to do that if their entire time is taken up preparing for examinations,” he said.

The Minister of Education first raised the issue in remarks after a Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited-sponsored Autism Awareness Walk that began and ended at the Promenade Gardens in Georgetown. I must say that when I hear a child has passed twenty-two subjects at an examination, I have to ask myself what kind of childhood is that child having and this is why we in the ministry are placing great emphasis on what I think of as the non-academic aspects  of education but which I think contribute to the making of a whole child,” he said.

The Education Minister’s concerns came even as Guyanese students are pushing to write much more than eight subjects.  Demerara Waves Online News was told that a Queen’s College student is slated to write 22 CXC subjects this year. Information is that another student is already preparing to write 25 subjects in 2017.

Sources at the school have confirmed that a female student is preparing to write 22 CXC subjects, the highest number to be written in the country and the Caribbean according to available information.

Additional information is that there may be an increased in the number of students writing a larger number of subjects at the school.

Each year, as students increase the number of subjects written, debates seem to intensify on what possible negative impacts the perceived “burden” of sitting these subjects may be having on students.

Last year was not the first time had student had written 29 subjects, but when the country’s top performer passed with 20 ones, an examination of the matter was requested.

In 2013, a CXC official had noted that the Council did not encourage students to write more than 20 subjects. The Council had supported Guyana nonetheless when the former Education Minister had noted that there would not be a limit on the number of subjects students are allowed to write.

(by Denis Chabrol and Zena Henry)