MINISTER OF Education, Curtis King says the COVID- 19 pandemic and the eruption of La Soufrière Volcano have negatively impacted the performance of students in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations with 10 secondary schools not attaining a 50 percent pass rate.
King was responding to questions posed in Parliament on Monday, October 17 by Member of Parliament for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre.
Ollivierre asked how many secondary schools received percentage passes below 50 per cent in the May/June 2022 exams.
In his question, Ollivierre noted that of the 26 secondary schools, 10 were shown to have average pass rates of between 60 to 96 per cent.
“Students of St Vincent and the Grenadines experienced great hardship from [the]COVID-19 pandemic and others did experience similar challenges, but we had the additional disruption of the eruption of the volcano that caused delays in preparation,” King said in response.
He said comparing results of the CSEC exam from 2019 to 2022, those results suffered a decline of about six per cent.
Further, that the pandemic forced students who wrote this year’s exam to miss a significant number of classes in 2021, with schools closed for face-toface teaching. He said the volcano’s eruption further interrupted classes, leaving these students disadvantaged.
“I keep making the point, that disruption seriously impacted on the students preparation,” the minister said.
King noted that 10 secondary schools recorded pass rates of below 50 per cent.
“Over the last five years, only four of these secondary schools recorded an average of below 50 per cent, only one that recorded a pass rate under 50 per cent for two consecutive years,” King said.
He said the Ministry is working with teachers in these schools to provide additional training and resources to improve performance.
Ollivierre also asked about the completion date for the construction of a temporary building to house students of the Mary Hutchinson Government School in Ashton, Union Island.
He said students who attend classes there have returned to class rooms that are “cramped, hot and unsatisfactory.”
King said this school building has presented with several issues over the years.
“By 2015, it was decided that school could no longer be maintained and hence we had to look for a new building. We all recognise that the conditions that the students are now under are less than optimal and hence the ministry took the position to build a temporary school to house the students,” King responded.
He said the temporary building is expected to be completed by December, 2022 and teachers and students should be able to occupy the facility by January 2023.
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