The twins who topped at CSEC
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Shivnarine (left) and Shivshankar Chaitram
Shivnarine (left) and Shivshankar Chaitram

IDENTICAL twins from Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, on Friday achieved an impressive milestone after they were named by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) among the highest achievers in Guyana for the Caribbean Secondary Examinations Certificate (CSEC) 2020 examinations.
Both students of Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN), Shivnarine and Shivshankar Chaitram, fondly abbreviated to ‘Shivs’ by their peers, tied for the position of sixth, out of thousands of students in Guyana. According to their schoolmates at SVN, the pair mirrored each other in ways that identical twins usually do.
“They move like one cohesive unit,” one of their peers, Trayon Douglas, recalled of the pair. “They did almost everything together. In classes they’d always get the same scores, ‘cause they studied together. When one got the top place, the other would tie with them. Sometimes one wouldn’t even need to speak. One spoke for both of them.”

It came as no surprise, then, when the twins also produced identical grades at the CSEC 2020 examinations. The ‘Shivs’ scored 17 grade ones and two grade twos, a feat both rare and remarkable, especially in Guyana.
Although the boys had seen the scores they achieved for CSEC long before they were confirmed, Shivnarine, the older of the two, explained that they had only received the news of their placement among the top performers when it was announced by the Ministry of Education on Friday.
“It was an unexpected surprise that we placed in the top 10, but we always knew we would have done well. So, in a way, it was a mixed surprise,” he stated in an interview with this publication.
Raywatti Chaitram, the twins’ mother, noted that the twins had always been on top of their studies, as well as their schoolwork, constantly scoring places among the top performers in their classes; so she had expected them to be high achievers this time around.
“Since they were growing up, I always knew they had this great potential and ability to go further, as well as achieve a lot. Since in primary school, they were straight-A students. They were always at the top. They did well for NGSA, and they had also tied [then]. And when they started secondary school, they still maintained straight-As. They were at the top, they were going forward, and they were achieving more and more, so I am very proud of them, that they could have reached this level,” she expressed.

While some students across the country had been blindsided by the sudden lockdown instituted with the advent of COVID-19 in March 2020, Shivnarine said they were well prepared for their examinations, not only by their school, but with their own studies as well as the encouragement to minimise distractions by both their parents.
Currently, they are pursuing studies in Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) subjects at Saraswati Vidya Niketan.
While Shivnarine is aiming to get into the field of medicine as a neurologist, Shivshankar wants to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, a medical doctor who specialises in surgical procedures of the heart, lungs, oesophagus, and other organs in the chest.

They attributed their success primarily to their parents, who Shivshankar gratefully noted kept them from becoming ‘playful’ in the absence of physical school; their teachers at school, who were quick to bridge the gap in education created by the dissolving of physical school; and study time with each other.
Both parents expressed confidence and pride in the twins’ achievements, reiterating their constant success over the years. “I expected them to place high, but I never told them,” their father, Harrichandra Chaitram, who is also a teacher, revealed.
“They are my role models,” the twins’ 14-year-old-sister, Trishala Chaitram, expressed. She will be sitting the CSEC examinations in 2024.
While twins in Jamaica have scored high at the CSEC examinations both in 2015 and 2020, it is the first time that twins have scored identical grades. The Shivs are two of the five students from Saraswati Vidya Niketan to place among the top 10 at the CSEC 2020 examinations.

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