Eyewitness: Hiding…(NGSA) bright bulbs??


Well, there it was; one of our annual rituals – our little (11+) darlings writing what used to call their “Common Entrance” exams! Just as de rigueur were the little tykes’ parents – mostly mothers – fussing and wishing them luck and all that!! That the name of the exam is now NGSA – the National Sixth Grade Assessment – Is supposed to be significant. The “Common Entrance” signalled the colonial-era exam that was open to all the “Standard 4” children across our not-so-fair-land to compete for “entrance” to a few spots at Queen’s or Bishops’.

That “exam” was said – by the “experts” at the Ministry of Education – to put too much pressure on the little ragamuffins at such an early age. So, instead they instituted not one but THREE “assessments” – at Grade 2, Grade 4, and Grade 6!! They’re not REALLY “exams” – the kids were now assured from age seven!! But what exactly is different!?! The results of the 2nd and 4th Grade “assessments” are factored into the NGSA – on the premise that the students’ strengths and weaknesses were monitored over a larger span!! And when they enter High School’s 7th Grade, the teachers would have a good assessment of the raw material they’re being handed to mould into the new Guyana citizen!!

Have you even heard such a crock? Your Eyewitness would like to know of a SINGLE instance where this kiddie utopian paradise was achieved!! The bottom line is there’s been ABSOLUTELY no change in whatever pressures the Common Entrance exam brought on and the present NGSA. It does what was always the case – it determines whether the kid will enter one of the five or so “elite” schools in GT or whether they’ll be schlepping over to their local “Secondary School”. Where, in addition to not having the posh facilities of the “town school” bears the “familiarity breeds contempt” burden!!

And the pressure?? Since it’ll pretty much determine the “life chances” of the kids’ success or failure, why’d you think?? Of course, there’re gonna be exceptions, but, by and large, the race is gonna be won by the “bright”. So, over in La La land of the Carnival and Calypso, THEIR powers-that-be have decided to quit publicly releasing their Common Entrance Exam results which had been dubbed SEA – Secondary Entrance Assessment – and have them only available on a portal!!

Each kid can now check his or her score personally. So, what’ll happen when the same old “high flyer” cohort shows up at the premier High Schools?? Won’t the regular students know THEY didn’t get in – and suffer by comparison?? Some feel the change is to hide that one ethnicity dominates the top rankings.
Did you ever hear of such schupidness??

…Indigenous swing power

There’s a bit of a little dust-up over the hosting of the annual National Toshaos Conference – which will now be held this week. Seems the funds that couldn’t be found to grease the activities of the Conference have now been located by the Government. Who, not surprisingly, are being accused of wanting to “control” the goings-on by setting the agenda and not inviting the previous executive!!

Now, from where your Eyewitness sits – on his high horse observing the goings-on in his native land – he’s not surprised. Doesn’t matter what subject you’re talking about here – be it horse racing or beauty pageants (same thing?!) – politics will intrude. Now you’ll hope they won’t be too heavy-handed– but since when politicians have been known for sensitivity?! All he knows is our Indigenous Peoples are in the driver’s seat when it comes to politics – since they pretty much hold the “swing vote”.
And to tell politicians to keep off their affairs is like telling a bee to abjure honey!!

…and bailing out

The Rajapaksa family ran the affairs of Sri Lanka like their personal fiefdom. But once the bottom fell out of the economy, the natives became restless.
Pres Gotabaya Rajapaksa just bailed when his barricades were stormed.