– as have public schools, with North Georgetown, Stella Maris proving they’re the best of the lot
By Tamica Garnett
WITH the males putting up quite a fight this year, small wonder it is that Samuel Barkoye of North Georgetown Primary and Rovin Lall of Stella Maris Primary were among the top performers at the 2020 sitting of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA).
With each lad attaining 525 out of the maximum 528 marks possible at this year’s exam, their performances have been declared a tie, thus making it the second consecutive year that public schools have excelled at the assessment, which, for six years prior, was dominated by pupils from the private schools.
Barkoye and Lall ruled the list of 14,032 pupils who sat the assessment, when it was held on July 1 & 2, and saw pupils being tested in Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies and Science.
With 524 marks to his credit, this year’s third highest spot went to Marian Academy’s Alexander Singh, while with 523 marks apiece, Mon Repos Primary’s Lianna Dharampaul and Westfield Prep’s Brandon Ramdin shared fourth place.
Three pupils shared the sixth position after attaining 521 marks each; they are Britney Peters of One Mile Primary in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice); Gabriel Felix of New Guyana School, and Dhanesh Tularam of Academy of Excellence in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
Ninth position was shared by four candidates, namely Yuri Clarke, Charisma Etwaroo and Salmah Bacchus, all of Academy of Excellence; and Robert Forrester of Winfer Gardens Primary.
The pupils all attained spots at the country’s top secondary school, Queen’s College.
A total of 168 pupils account for the top one per cent performers at this year’s assessment, where public schools saw an increase in the rate of spots garnered in the grouping. While almost 30 per cent of the top one per cent were public school pupils last year, this year, public schools accounted for 44 per cent.
Aside from North Georgetown, Stella Maris Public, One Mile, Mon Repos and Winfer Gardens, other public schools featuring pupils in the top one per cent include Leonora Primary in Region Three, Amelia’s Ward Primary in Region 10, and Annandale Primary in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
The NGSA results were officially announced by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand at a press briefing held on Monday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) in Kingston.
‘JUST A STEPPING STONE’
Prior to announcing the results, the Minister called on those pupils who wrote the exam this year to remember that regardless of what secondary school they are assigned, the NGSA results are just a stepping stone in their academic pursuits, and not the end of the road.
“What we say here does not define who you are; you can do as well as the Queen’s College pupils,” Minister Manickchand said, the mother in her coming to the fore. “We just don’t have the space; it is simple as that,” she said, adding: “This is a placement exam, written not to say whether you are smart or not.”
Held annually, the NGSA is used to determine the placement of pupils in a secondary school, based on scores attained. Pupils would often develop anxiety, in their bid to attain a spot at one of the country’s top secondary schools.
This year, the cut-off scores for the top secondary schools are: Queen’s College, 512; Bishops’ High, 508; St. Stanislaus College, 505; St. Rose’s High, 502; St. Joseph High, 499; and President’s College, 490.
As attention has increased on the effects that the pressure of the exam has had on pupils, over the past few years, stakeholders often call on pupils to remember that the scores and secondary school that they attain does not determine their future.
“The harshness of children at 10 and 11 [years old] taking an examination, where they believe their entire life is dependent on it is not the most child-friendly thing we can do. We have 110 secondary schools across the country, we will demand that these schools can perform at a high standard. That will be the effort going forward in a very strategic aggressive way,” Minister Manickchand said as she commented on the situation on Monday.
The Minister posited that greater equity of standards at secondary schools across the country will be one way of easing the pressure on pupils to attain marks for the top secondary schools, and that is a goal that the Ministry of Education is striving towards.
“We promise that the quality and standard at [secondary] schools across the country will improve,” she said. “We don’t have the kind of equality we need across secondary; but that will change. You will be placed at different schools, but you can do well wherever you go,” she charged.
PERFORMANCE BY REGION
Aside from Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), at least one pupil from each of the country’s education districts attained a spot at one of the top secondary schools.
Both coming from schools in the city, Barkoye and Lall shared the spot as Best Performing Pupils in District 11. Peters was best performer in Region 10; Dharamlall was best performer in Region 4 (which covers schools on the East Bank and East Coast Demerara, but not Georgetown); while Tularam topped Region Three.
Krizel Wells from Hosororo Primary, who attained 504 marks, was the best performing pupil in Region One (Barima-Waini); while Sotana Singh from CV Nunes Primary was the best pupil in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), having gained 514 marks.
With 513 marks, Mariam Baksh was Best Pupil for Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Renace Joseph, of Friends Primary earned 517 marks, and was the Best Pupil in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Kyle Harper from St. John the Baptist Primary topped Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), with 502 marks; while Deliza Martin from Paramakatoi Primary, with 480 marks was adjudged Best Performer in Region Eight; and Tristan D’Aguiar from Arapaima Primary was the Best Performer for Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), with 509 marks.
Minister Manickchand thanked the parents and teachers for the role they played in helping the pupils as they prepared for the exams this year, particularly given the harsh conditions brought on by the COVID-19 situation, which had effected the closure of schools since March.
“I know how hard parenting is in this particular year; how much harder it was in this lockdown. To you and to the teachers who stepped up, we are deeply, deeply grateful,” the Minister expressed.