Our Readers' Opinions
October 14, 2005
Are we ready for Education Revolution?

EDITOR: Currently the most talked about issue is Universal Secondary Education, which seems to be the cornerstone of the ULP’s election campaign.

While I thoroughly support the concept of Universal Secondary Education, there are several questions that we must seriously look at.{{more}}

1. Is a person who fails the Common Entrance Exam psychologically ready for secondary education?

2. Should someone’s future in secondary school be determined by a single exam?

3. Is the secondary school equipped to deal with Universal Secondary Education?

The answers to these questions will help us to answer the question of whether the proper structures are in place for the “Education Revolution” to proceed. As the Prime Minister correctly said in the last sitting of the House of Assembly, structure precedes function.

My answer to question one is “no”, however this does not imply that the student should not go to a secondary school. What I am suggesting is that we implement a remedial system to help that student in their secondary education. I know that the critics will say that the students were given remedial classes during the summer vacation, but can we truly resolve years of problems in one month? If not, why aren’t there remedial specialists in the secondary schools? Where is the structure?

My answer to question two is also ”no.” It is a known fact that the CXC have realized that one’s results should not be based on a single test done during the months of May and June, therefore they have introduced School Based Assessment. Any University course taken involves doing a thesis. Why then are our students subjected to this single exam? Where is the structure?

This brings us to the most important question, is the secondary school equipped to deal with Universal Secondary Education? Earlier I alluded to the fact that there is a need for remedial teachers, which is one of the key factors in getting a proper structure. This will help the students to succeed. Another missing ingredient is the presence of counsellors in the schools. In my opinion, neither political administration has seen the crucial role that counsellors can play in the development of our students. I can recall that an individual with a Master’s Degree in Psychology was sent to a secondary school to teach English, while the students were facing psychological problems, especially low self-esteem. I have also noticed that there are students who should have repeated first form for a second occasion, seemingly unable to grasp the basic concepts of this level, being promoted to Form Two. I dare not comment on the frustration that teachers face in delivering their subject matter due to the gaps in our students’ knowledge.

Can someone please show me the structures that are in place to deal with these issues?

Doc, please take heed of your own words, no system can function effectively without proper structure.