We just had a peek at the latest bunch of young’uns moving from primary school to secondary but, sadly, not a single thing seems to’ve changed. By and large, more than half of the 14,000+ who wrote the NGSA couldn’t score 50% of the marks in the basic subjects of Maths, Science and Social Studies. In English, the pass rate was 57.4% – a dip from last year’s 60.6%.
And you, gentle readers, would know that your Eyewitness’s pet peeve is that while we’re all excited by the amazing performances of the top 10 – and even the top 1% – not a tear was shed for the bottom half, who’re seen as “losers”, and will soon see themselves as such. Your Eyewitness isn’t too het up by the 39% pass rate at Social Studies; God knows that’s one curriculum that needs a serious makeover. Why should 11-year-olds have to know the names of the Ministers in the Government – especially now that Granger has expanded their number to 30+?? Isn’t that cruel and inhuman treatment?
After an abysmal showing in English some years ago, the Ministry of Education (MoE) made a big push and inched up the pass rate. This year, the push was on in Maths, and while the latter saw some improvement (42% now got more than 50% of the marks for a “pass”!!) the performance in English dropped by a corresponding number. Could it be that the brains of most kids can take about only a certain amount of information, so that as one area expands, another contracts?? Like squeezing a balloon?
Frankly, your Eyewitness really believes too much useless stuff’s being crammed into our children’s heads, and at too early an age. Remember these kids were already tested and scored in Grade 2 and Grade 4, and those marks were added to the Grade 6 marks!! It’s all rote learning, and if you read the interviews of the top flyers, you’ll see that, in addition to being in school from 8am to 5pm daily, they had extra lessons plus coaching with dedicated mothers and fathers. That’s a whole lot of cramming!
But back to the bottom 50%. And inordinate number of these are from hinterland and rural schools; for example, Region 1 couldn’t get a single pupil to qualify for the five “premier schools” in Georgetown. And that’s the clue right there, isn’t it? The primary schools in the rural and hinterland areas are as “un-premier” as the secondary schools – with less qualified teachers and substandard facilities. There is also the question of the relevance of the curriculum to their lives.
Georgetown is still Guyana!!

…with the campaign
The PNC-led coalition is in full campaign mode – as they’ve been since the NCM vote last December. While some believe their delaying tactics in the High, Appellate and CCJ Courts since then are designed to get their rigging apparatus in place, it’s also clear that they don’t want to rig too heavily; hence the their full court press electorate of the electorate, on Government time and funds. Their latest foray was described by the Chronic when three well-garlanded Ministers were shown and described, promising the residents of BV-Triumph the sun and the moon. It wasn’t coincidental that the Government slate got a run for their money from some independents in BV. The PNC’s following “Campaigning 101” by focusing on the fence-sitters.
But now that the Cabinet and President stands resigned, and the Government must just ensure that services are upkept, what about the Caretaker Convention on state funds not being used for campaigning? The PNC, of course, will blithely proceed as if their status hasn’t changed.
Hope the non-governmental parties propose a stop-order to the CCJ!

…with a new WI?
Your Eyewitness is of the firm belief that all good things come to an end. Problem is, when the “good thing” is a human being, they just can’t accept it.
Chris Gayle shouldn’t be allowed to play on against India.