Letters to the Editor

Let's be true innovators improving students' performance

Thursday, August 23, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I wish to congratulate the Caribbean Examinations Council for moving in the right direction utilising technology and encouraging students to use the internet to access their CXC/CSEC results.

I know that there are households that may not have computers, but this is a cost-reduction method that I thought was brilliant. Also, years ago, many students were not given their results due to outstanding school fees, and students' chances to enter college immediately were denied.

After the release of the results, my music students started calling me after midnight, so from the early hours of Saturday, August 11, until about 9 am I was happily denied regular sleep. The results were very good. All had passed and not only for my subject, but also for the other subjects they had taken.

On investigation, the success rate for the school where I work was extremely high, as usual. So, the question is: why the prime-time broadcast recently by one of our ministers that might have implied that all high schools have received poor exam results? It is never good to generalise where results are concerned. Yes, the percentage trends in the performance of the CXC/CSEC results have wavered, but I think those schools that have maintained consistent results should be publicly commended. Let the successful schools be contracted by the education ministry to write papers showing the best practices used to guarantee excellent performance.

Why have those politicians who have not done well at public service escaped assessment? Are they really held accountable for underachievement? Does the government put a performance checklist in the over 60 constituencies for us to use to measure MPs' performance?

But we find that all teachers are placed under a huge public microscope and the public checklist is never clearly seen, but all teachers seem to be checked off for underperformance when unfavourable results are found. Pre-set labels have been clearly made, posted, and broadcast against teachers.

Yes, there are teachers that should be plucked from the classrooms and the Jamaica Teachers' Association needs to revamp its stance on "bad teachers" and get rid of them, but seriously, no one can deny that teachers are the ones who truly hold up a nation in providing a literate and numerate population. There are factors that prevent 100 per cent literacy and numeracy of our people such as bad parenting, poor health, and domestic abuse, but let us recognise the schools that have tried and worked hard, made strategic and pedagogical improvements. They have done well in ensuring that students are armed with the tools and skills needed to move to the next stage of their lives after high school. Let us not be myopic in our grandstanding but be true innovators with our journey to improve students' performance in general.

Lyssette Hawthorne

St Ann






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