MINISTER of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly is encouraging the media to focus on what she described as deeper and more important issues, such as student achievement, instead of focusing mainly on stories surrounding issues such as failing school infrastructure and school indiscipline and fights.
She made the statements at the launch of the Edu-talks – a talk forum where the ministry will connect with stakeholders in the education system – on Friday. But her statements came a day after four Aranguez North Secondary students were attacked and hospitalised by students from two other schools.
“We deal with challenges every day,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
“We have an ageing school stock. We have more than 840 public schools many of them over 40 years old and that is a continuing issue.
"However, I would like the media to dig a little deeper on issues that affect our student performance, what is actually happening there and how we are dealing with these things.
“I feel that there can be more focus on what is happening in other areas because the education system is very broad, much broader than infrastructure issues and (the fact that) we have fights in schools.”
On Thursday, three Aranguez North Secondary students were stabbed and another was injured by a bottle after they were attacked by students of St Joseph Secondary and Mt Hope Secondary schools.
Police reports said at about 3 pm, Kerdell Ramsumir, 16, Kevon Horsford, 17, Elijah Dookharan, 17 and Meshach Sandy, 17, all from Wharf Trace, Maracas, St Joseph, were standing at the Maracas St Joseph taxi stand when they were approached by other students armed with knives and bottles who attacked them. The four boys tried running from their attackers who gave chase, stabbing them multiple times and hitting them with bottles.
Ramsumir was stabbed in his back and right hand, and also had an injury to his right ear. Horsford was stabbed through his upper left arm. Dookharan got stabbed just over his wrist, and Sandy was hit in the back of the head with a bottle.
The four students were listed as being in a stable condition in hospital.
Gadsby-Dolly: Student performance rebounding from covid19
On Friday, Gadsby-Dolly said student performance was rebounding to pre-covid levels thanks to the ministry’s staff, administrators, teachers, parents, education stakeholders and the strategies implemented from the ministry’s education policy.
She said in 2019, 52 per cent of students scored above 50 per cent in the SEA examination with 13.7 scoring under 30 per cent. However in 2022 at the height of the pandemic the numbers dropped to 37 per cent getting more than 50 per cent, with 28 per cent scoring under 30.
In 2023 it rebounded to 58 per cent scoring over 50 per cent, with 13 per cent scoring under 30.
With regard to CESC, Gadsby-Dolly said in 2019 60 per cent of students passed five subjects or more, but by 2022 at the height of the pandemic the rates dropped to 53 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.
In 2023 58 per cent of students got five or more passes with 51 per cent getting five passes including mathematics and English. With regard to pass rates at CESC in mathematics and English, the pass rate in 2019 was 48 and 76 per cent respectively; in 2022 the rates were 42 per cent and 72 per cent and in 2023 the pass rates are at 50 per cent and 78 per cent.
“The education system is now poised for transformative action, which has already begun and will continue based on implementation of initiatives outlined in the education policy 2023-2027 and it s accompanying sub-policies,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
“Initiatives outlined in these policies also dovetail with the recommendation of the SEA and concordat committee which indicated that a drastic change in the format used to effect transition from primary to secondary schools will likely result in negative and unintended consequences without reform of the education system.”