Last week the results of this year’s primary school examinations were released. The results did not show an improvement in the four core subject areas. Minister of Education Patrick Faber said while he is not pleased with the results, he hopes that the work that is being done within the system will yield results.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: “Well I’m not pleased obviously as I’ve expressed year upon year when we get the same kind of results but I am not pessimistic, I want to be optimistic about the possibilities that can still come as a result of the interventions that we’ve been making- we did not get to this position overnight and we certainly will not get over it over night and so the kind of interventions we’ve been making, training our teachers, making sure that they’re better equipped to be handling situations in the classrooms and helping our students to learn is one of those interventions that we hope can yield very good results, particularly training in Language Arts, training in mathematics, training in science that have been going on as a result of our EKIP program for instance. We have seen the results of this initiative now, the IDB presented a report to us recently that is showing marked improvement and we believe that it is only a matter of time before those successes find its way in terms of the results of the PSE. Our push in literacy to make sure our children are getting the foundation from very early, in preschool and early infant school years if we capture their literacy issues and address them we believe that this will also translate down the road into making sure that our students are performing better.”
Faber said while the results may be cause for concern it does not stop the push to improve lives through education. He said there is a space for every child in the education system.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: “We have a space for all 7,000 for these children in our school system whether it be the school of their choice or some other schools and that’s what I want to say to parents- send your children to school. As part of the subsidy initiative I’ve been going around the country and I’ve been speaking to students in standard six and I’m surprised by some of them who are now getting the assistance and are still saying they are not going to highschool. So I want to encourage parents because this is a reflection on our education system when our children don’t go to school and quite often they blame the Ministry of Education, they blame the teachers they blame but many of them are at that point. I heard of one case yesterday where the student made in excess of 75 on the PSE and he is not going to highschool. So we really need to be doing another kind of campaign to ensure that where students are living in farming areas especially that they are not being encouraged to leave school just to facilitate the process of farming and all of that.”
And while Faber acknowledges that there is much more than can be done to ensure better results, he said parents need to step up as well.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: “The teachers will tell you that they’re having a more difficult time in the classroom now given that the students come from home settings that are very difficult that in fact are not giving them the kind of nurturing that they need to have to be disciplined students in the classroom. My point in saying is that we need to take on this approach altogether, parent’s especially need to be more participative in the lives of their students, of their children, they need to be more instructive in terms of their quest for education- be a part of what goes on in the school, be there behind them because they need that support. They are by far the biggest missing element in the equation.”
The top performers in this year’s PSE will be awarded at a special ceremony next week.