THE Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) Secondary School has recorded another successful year at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination after its students accounted for half of the ten who were named as the country’s top performers.
The educational institution has since credited the persistent success of its students to a high level of discipline, and the involvement of parents.
Seventeen-year-old Geveshwar Rajkishore, who placed fourth in the country with 18 Grade Ones and one Grade Two, said the school was pivotal in his accomplishment.
“I think it played a major part. If it weren’t for the teachers, the way they taught the syllabus, the way they had us building our character; it helped me to prepare for my examinations,” he said.
Even more than the academic teachings he has been able to take away from the school, Rajkishore is particularly touched by the school’s high emphasis on character building and the overall wellbeing of its students.
“I would say, it is the way the classes are timetabled, and also the teachers and the morals that the school holds – always be on time, never procrastinate, always try your best, and be truthful – that really helps us in the end to put everything together to perform the best we can,” he noted, adding that:
“The principal and admin talk to us about issues we have to face. They always try to keep a positive mind and tell you that things can change, in which they do change in the end. Some may say that we’re too strict, but the strictness helps to shape us in the future.”
Attending the Cornelia Ida, West Coast Demerara institution for his secondary school education was something Rajkishore had long hoped for even during his years in primary school, due to the continued great reviews he would hear.
“I wanted to come here because my siblings and cousins all came here and had a lot of great things to say about the school. I used go to the Academy of Excellence right around the corner, and whenever I came from school I would always see the students on the road,” he shared.
Rajkishore is one of 84 students from the school who wrote the regional examination this year. The school has an overall 459 students on its register.
SVN is a non-governmental organisation and a not-for-profit secondary school. Construction on the school’s building began in 1998 and first set of classes began on September 5, 2002. The school includes a two-storey concrete building spanning approximately 7,200 square feet.
The school describes itself as a “different” and “unique” institution which places emphasis on discipline administered with care and compassion. The religious school, which focuses on the principles of Hinduism, emphasises a philosophy “that we really cannot teach anyone. All knowledge is already inherent in the individual soul. The student then must be the focus of learning, not the teacher or the curriculum.”
This school is the brainchild of Swami Aksharananda, who is the current principal.
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle, Aksharananda credited the school’s continued production of high performances to its emphasis on a “high level of discipline, commitment to work which depends on the student, family support and teachers’ contribution”.
“Another thing that is exceptional about our school is that our students don’t go anywhere for any kind of [extra] lessons. Whatever is learned at school and provided by the teachers is enough for us. We don’t allow our students to take lessons and so on,” he related.
He also noted that the school has a reputation for making exceptional students, of children who might not have started out that way.
“Many of these SVN students would not have been admitted in what would be considered the [high ranking] high schools. Among these [five] students [in the top ten] not all of them would’ve qualified to go to QC or Bishops, or any of the senior high schools. They came with NGSA scores as low as 400 and below; when you look at the overall performance it is amazing,” Aksharananda noted.
Nonetheless, he said the students’ high ranking performance was expected, as the students would’ve done equally well in the mock exams preceding the writing of the actual CSEC exams.
He says when the full list of top performing students in Guyana is announced he is expecting to see even more of his students being named. He is very elated that his students continue to excel, and noted that Guyana needs the development of more tertiary institutions to accommodate the high supply of highly intellectual students.
“On the whole we are waiting on the final results to be published. We have a strong belief our students will do well when the final results are out,” he said.
He added: “So I am very happy, glad. I only hope that they are able to continue. Unfortunately, all we have in Guyana is the University of Guyana. We hope in time our country will be able to provide real higher education for students who excel like this, not just those students from SVN.”