APNU calls for Commission of Inquiry into Education System

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APNU PresserA Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is alarmed at continuing reports of serious teacher discipline as the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has been obliged to dismiss an average of two or three teachers every week for various offences in the country’s public educational system.

At a press conference this morning, Friday August 23, APNU’s Leader David Granger listed a number of issues affecting the school system.

However, before Mr. Granger mentioned the long list of issues, he categorically stated that he is in no way attacking any “government minister”.

The APNU leader wants a national commission of inquiry in order to determine why results at three levels – CAPE, CSEC and NGSA – continue to be unsatisfactory.

As it relates to the teachers’ issue, Mr. Granger listed some offences committed by them, which includes defacement of public records, drunkenness and teaching under the influence of alcohol; carnal knowledge of students; fighting among themselves; forgery of certificates of qualifications; flogging children without authority; habitual unpunctuality; inadequate work preparation; inefficiency and poor supervision; improper or late completion and distribution of reports; leaving students unsupervised during school hours; misappropriation of school funds; mismanagement of school records and the misuse of school premises and property.

“APNU is concerned, also about the plan by the Teaching Service Commission to recruit overseas Mathematics and Science teachers for public education system. It does not seem that enough has been done to solve the problem by educating and employing local science teachers. Vacancies remain unfilled because of the lack of eligible applicants in specific technical fields, low allowances, the unavailability of suitable housing in some hinterland areas and persons finding it difficult to travel long distances to reach some school,” Mr. Granger said.

According to him, the APNU has also taken note of the continuing trend of school violence and an increase in the number of teachers being assaulted by students.

APNU also took note of the drop out rates in the public schools, particularly in the hinterland areas.

“It is evident that private schools seem to be performing consistently better than public schools,” Mr. Granger told reporters.

NGSA, CSEC Results

Meanwhile, as it relates to the National Grade Six Assessment results, Mr. Granger added that of the 16,811 candidates who sat the exams, only 173 of them who comprised of the top one percent were placed in the best secondary schools.

“An alarming number of candidates who sat the examination performed so badly as to indicate that they were probably functionally illiterate. The results of the NGSA and the CSEC examinations indicate that Mathematics in particular, continues to record low pass rates.”

Given all of these issues plaguing the education sector, Mr. Granger said that there is now sufficient evidence to require a formal investigation into the entire system.

“Silence will not solve the problems. The Ministry of Education is well aware that discipline and performance in the country’s public  schools have been unsatisfactory over the last decade.”

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