Guyana wins CXC award yet again

by Hydar Ally
Guyana Chronicle
December 15, 1999

GUYANA has once again won the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) award for the best overall performance for 1999. In addition to copping the Number One spot, Guyana has also won four of the nine top CXC awards for the best student performance in given subjects. This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council, Sir Keith Hunte at an awards ceremony in Georgetown last week.

This, incidentally, is the second time in three years that Guyanese students have attained such high levels of distinction. Two years ago, in 1997, Mohalani Chatterdeo won the award as the overall best student at the examinations. It is worthy to note that both of these students came from Queen's College, which also won the award as the best Secondary school in the Caribbean in terms of student performance.

This year's spotlight, however, is on Amlata Persaud from Queen's College whose performance at the CXC was nothing short of spectacular. Amlata secured Grade I passes in all eleven (11) subjects that she wrote, quite a remarkable feat and possibly one of the best performances by an examination candidate since the coming to being of the examination some 25 years ago.

These outstanding performances by Guyanese students will no doubt serve to motivate and inspire other Guyanese students to reach the pinnacle of the examination ladder. If Mohalani Chatterdeo and Amlata Persaud can do it, others can do it too.

The performance of Amlata at the examination is not, I wish to submit, a chance occurrence. It is consistent with a trend of improved student performance both at regional and local examinations. Before 1992, less than half of the Guyanese students who sat the CXC/GCE examinations attained acceptable pass grades. This year the percentage pass was 73 per cent, having increased incrementally over the past six years.

The good thing is that the decline in student performance has been halted and we are now regaining lost ground as a nation of talented and bright people, who, given the right environment, can do as good any in the Caribbean or elsewhere. This is not to suggest that we are at the top of the Caribbean in terms of student achievement. The performance of Guyanese students still lag behind their Caribbean counterparts in a number of the core subject areas including English Language and Mathematics.

Much work remains to be done to cause students to do better in these core subjects. This problem incidentally is not peculiar to Guyana; the performance of students in Language and Mathematics is a concern of the Caribbean Governments, especially in this information age where communication and interpretation skills are seen as basic for growth and development.

As I said earlier, there are grounds for optimism in our capacity to upgrade the skill base of our country and raise the current levels of educational attainment. The Government has to its credit, made it quite clear that education is a top priority and has devoted an increasing share of the national budget to the education sector. Such investment in our young people is beginning to pay dividends as our recent CXC awardees have demonstrated.

May I take this opportunity by way of this Viewpoint, to congratulate all those students, in particular Amlata, for having done their country proud. And since this is my final Viewpoint for 1999, may I take this opportunity to extend Season's Greetings to all my fellow Guyanese.

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