…public school back at helm after seven years
AFTER six years of private school students securing the top spot at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), this year’s top performers at the annual examinations were shared by two public school students, Dave Chowtie and Venisha Lall of Graham’s Hall Primary School and C V Nunes Primary School, respectively.
It was Graham’s Hall Primary that had provided the top student back in 2012, the last time a public school student ruled the list. Some 14,300 students sat assessment which was held on the 17 – 18 April, and saw the students tested in Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science.
Performance results provided by the Ministry of Education (MoE) record 166 students accounting for the top one per cent of performers at the examinations, of which 49, almost 30 per cent, were public school students. A whopping 89 of the students gained the top ten scores recorded.
With a highest possible score of 536, Chowtie and Lall each attained 532, being two of only three public school students who made it into the top nine positions. Umashankar Singh of Novar Primary School attained 528 to share the ninth position with eight other students. They were all awarded places at Queen’s College.
Chowtie, therefore, prevailed as the top performer of the Georgetown District, while Lall is Region Two’s highest scorer, and Singh leads for Region Five. Other public schools featuring students in the top one per cent included Leonora, Meten Meer Zorg and Wales Primary in Region Three; St Gabriel’s, Winfer Gardens, St Margaret’s, Stella Maris and North Georgetown Primary in Georgetown; Company Road Primary and Enmore-Hope Primary in Region Four; Cotton Tree and Rosignol Primary in Region Five; Cropper Primary and Cumberland Primary in Region Six; and Regma Primary and One Mile Primary in Region 10.
Several of the country’s top performers, including Chowtie and Lall, were present at the National Centre for Educational and Resource Development (NCERD) Boardroom, Kingston, on Wednesday morning as Minister of Education, Dr. Nicollette Henry, announced the results of this year’s NGSA.
Henry said this new development of public school students returning to the helm of the list came as no surprise to her, as the ministry has been doing much over the past few years to improve on development of the curriculum and teaching techniques in the public primary schools. “We have noticed a lot more competition between public and private for top positions, and I am pleased,” the minister expressed moments after revealing the results.
“When you have a robust programme you expect a certain level of performance. I actually expected more based on what we put in, but I am pleased that people took their job seriously and they were able to deliver and I look forward to better and greater things.”
This year, the trend of female pupils leading in the top one per cent continued, with girls accounting for 94 of the 166 students. However, the percentage of boys in the top one per cent saw a slight increase, whereas boys made up 40.2% last year, this year they accounted for 43.4% of that top one per cent.
For performances in the other regions, Shemmol Chan of Santa Rosa Primary was the top performer in Region One with 496; in Region Three, Ruth Larson from Academy of Excellence lead the Region’s list after attaining 530; Cropper Primary’s Chitra Ramdihal heads Region Six with 520; Sumehra Jardine from St John the Baptist Primary lead Region 7 with 512; Celestia Masir from Madhia Primary had 503 and lead performances in Region 8; at the top of Region Nine’s list is Alana Lewis from Hiowa Primary, who had 515, and Region 10 is led by Jasmine Simpson of One Mile Primary who has 523.
Several private schools also continued to excel, with many of the popular ones maintaining quite a number of students in the top one per cent. These include Academy of Excellence, with two students among the four students that shared third place on the list.
Marian Academy, Mae’s Under 12, Success Elementary, the New Guyana School, Genesis Early Childhood, Green Acres Primary, Valmiki Vidyalaya, and Dharmic Rama Krishna were a few of the private schools with multiple students in the top one per cent.
The NGSA is used to determine which secondary school students would be offered a place. Each secondary school is assigned a minimum score a student must attain to be granted placement. The minimum scores for the country’s top six schools are 519 for Queen’s College; 513 for Bishop’s High; 508 for St Stanislaus College; 504 for St Rose’s High; 500 for St Joseph High; and 480 for President’s College.
This year, at least one student from each of the 11 districts attained marks to be offered a place at one of the top six schools. “This is a good sign and indicator that the reduction in disparities in education delivery is beginning to show fruits. A lot more must be done for the trend to be sustained. More competition between public and private for top positions; top two positions to public school candidates. We have also noticed, over the past five year period, a positive trend with [the] number of candidates scoring below 25 per cent decreasing.”
Do not despair
But even as the country began celebrating the achievements of the top performers on Wednesday, Chief Education Officer (CEO), Marcel Hutson, pleaded with those students who did not do so well or secure spots at the nation’s top secondary schools to not despair, and be reminded that NGSA is not the end of the road. He encouraged the parents to see it as a stepping stone and not a final evaluation for their children.
“I wish to encourage those parents who think that their children may not have done well, not to discourage or despise them. I have seen that time and time again where it leaves the children feeling a sense of underachievement or not having any worth,” Hutson
“So, it is important, as parents, that we do not see these exams as the end total of a child’s life. It is Winston Churchhill who said success is never final, failure is never fatal, it is courage that matters, so we need to encourage our children regardless of how they may have performed in your sight. All of us have our strength and weaknesses which stand to remind us that we need one another and we need to work as a team to ensure each child fulfils their potential in the area of their giftedness. Each and every child has a gift and it is important that we recognise and nurture that gift.”