PNC/R not impressed with CXC results -- Murray

Guyana Chronicle
September 19, 2003

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The main opposition Party, People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), says the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) results for this year, which it says reflects a drop in the level of performance, has far-reaching implications for Guyana's development prospects.

The party's Central Executive Member Mr. Winston Murray, during a press conference at Congress Place, Sophia, said the Government has attempted, with much rhetoric and propaganda, to create the impression that the results are good and indicates real progress.

He said the reference made to marginal change in particular subject areas, which in many cases are of no statistical significance, is a distraction from the deep-seated and more profound problems facing Guyana.

And with reference to the performance of a few extremely talented, hard-working students, generally from supportive and well-provided family environments, is in many respects an irrelevance.

"Talented students will do well at CXC and other examination. There are some young people bright enough to do well no matter how poorly organized and managed is the education system", Murray explained.

He said the time has come for government to face the realities and generate consensual and realistic solutions to the problems based on frank and objective assessment.

He said the CXC results tell many things. Chiefly, that Guyana has made very little progress in the restructuring and reorganizing of a relevant education system.

He noted for example, the number of students writing subjects in the Technical and Vocational subject areas is relatively low for a country, which needs to increase its human resources in those areas as a basis for the development and attracting investment.

After an analysis of the performance in the various subject areas the party said it has found that the average number of passes per students in Guyana is 2.7 subjects per student and the average pass rate for all subjects is 27.2 percent. It said only about 200 students achieved passes in 5 subjects at the CXC examinations.

"That is not good enough; it is bad, it is well below what we should be accepting after all the resources, which is being poured in by donors into the education sector" Murray argues.

He said the party believes that there are major lessons for the government from the results:

(1) The standard in the education system do not represent the adequate basis for serious economic recovery and modernization.

(2) The Government must recognize that the posture of hostility and or indifference to the needs of the Teaching Profession is not working and will only serve to make the situation worse. There will be no reform without a well-motivated Teaching profession.

(3) The Secondary School Reform Programme (SSRP) was ill conceived. Therefore, a more appropriate approach should be taken for the reform of secondary education, to undo the damage already done.