MEMBER of Parliament for East Central St James Edmund Bartlett has expressed concern over data obtained from Ministry on Education which has revealed disparities in the performance of students at the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) levels in the subjects of English language and mathematics, in the ministry's Region Four.
"When we look at the performance, for example last year at the GSAT level, we saw that somewhere in the region of 64 per cent of the students showed passes in GSAT language arts; and some 62 per cent passes in GSAT mathematics. But when they came to the CSEC, English was down to 45 per cent and mathematics down to 35 per cent. Real concerns!" Bartlett bemoaned.
The parishes on St James, Hanover and Westmoreland comprise region four of the Ministry of Education.
Yesterday when the Observer West contacted the Ministry of Education's regional director, Hillary Foster, she disclosed that various strategies are being implemented to rectify the situation.
She, however, did not disclose the strategies.
But, inspite of the ministry's response, the concern has prompted Bartlett to award two teachers from the two high schools in his constituency— Spot Valley High and Irwin High — scholarships valued at $100,000 each annually for the next three years to obtain specialised training in mathematics.
"The two of them (teachers) must come back to teach in those two schools for
at least three years. So it's a three-year arrangement," Bartlett explained.
He was speaking on Sunday during the annual East Central St James Educational Council GSAT scholarship awards ceremony for the more than 160 students who obtained over 80 per cent averages in the 2012 examinations.
Four students, two apiece from Spot Valley High and Irwin High, who received outstanding grades in the recent Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), were awarded scholarships to the University of the West Indies
and the University of Technology respectively.
During the ceremony some 50 scholarships were also awarded to 50 students who sat GSAT at schools in the East Central St James constituency by investor James Goren, in commemoration of the country's 50th anniversary celebrations.
Fifteen years ago, Bartlett established the East Central St James Educational Council through which he has provided assistance to students and teachers in his constituency with bursaries, textbooks, meals through school feeding programmes as well as school uniforms.