June 15, 2007
Common Entrance positives


The entire nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has every reason to be proud of the results of the 2007 Common Entrance examination. We have spent long years, in the last decade of the 20th century and the first few years of the 21st, agonizing over those results, analyzing them and apportioning blame to just about everybody – teachers, parents, pupils and, of course successive governments.{{more}}

The Common Entrance examination is itself a topic of much controversy as to its own relevance and usefulness to our education system. It is, in the words of Prime Minister Gonsalves, “The largest single annual mobilization of people, outside Carnival” and commands the attention of the entire nation at both exam time as well as when the results are published. Indeed it is true to say that it is the hub of the education system as currently constituted.

Small wonder then that there is a visible swelling of national pride over the latest results, for not only do they reflect a continuing trend of improvement where pass rate are concerned, but a significant one at that. The 60 percent plus pass rates is a far cry from what obtained a decade, or as recent as five years ago. This must gladden the hearts of all, reassuring us that the despair many of us express over the future of our education is unfounded.

Both the Minister of Education and Prime Minister, much maligned for supposed educational bungling, have rightly congratulated those responsible for the leap forward. They have also pointed to the success of two aspects of the government’s educational policy – the remedial work carried out in schools and the connection with the government’s policy of universal secondary education, a seamless connection which leads to the many opportunities for tertiary education now being offered. They have every right to feel justify proud and vindicated but much more is left to be done to ensure that we maintain this progressive development.

Two aspects of the results are especially pleasing. Both have major implications for social development. One is the gender aspect. The entire society is aware that our young males have not been doing very well academically. Each year the Common Entrance results tend to highlight this. How heartening it must be there that a young male, Utamu Rose of St. Mary’s R.C. School, not only emerged top of the list but had outstanding results at that! The second aspect is the performance of rural schools – Georgetown Government, Stubbs, Barrouallie, Bequia Anglican, Rose Hall, Cane End and Troumaca being given honourable mention. Gender and rural development are key elements of any development policy.

Finally, our congratulations go out to the successful pupils, to the hardworking teachers, the parents, the staff of the Ministry of Education and all those who in one way or another contributed to this advance. Let us all build on it.