No secondary school places for 5,000 SSEE children
Stabroek News
July 7, 2004

Related Links: Articles on education
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Some 5,000 or 29% of the children who wrote the Common Entrance examinations in April have not been assigned secondary schools mainly because places were not available to accommodate them.

About 17,000 children wrote the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) but only 12,000 were allocated schools.

Superintendent of Exam-inations Juliet Persico told Stabroek News yesterday that most of the children who were not placed in schools were in the Georgetown area and East Coast Demerara. Many had obtained scores below 300.

Persico said that there are places available in many rural and hinterland areas, for which the children would have qualified based on the scores they obtained but it was geographically impossible to place the children from the coastland in the schools found in those areas.

Stabroek News understands that this matter has to be sorted out by the Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar, in conjunction with the Education Officers for the respective education departments.

Caesar, who is currently out of the country, could not be contacted and efforts to reach the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Ganga Persaud, the Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey, and the Assistant Education Officer with responsibility for Georgetown, yesterday proved futile.

One senior education official who requested anonymity told this newspaper that the problem has been recurring in recent years.

This has resulted in the establishment of a number of secondary schools including Freeburg Secondary, Tucville and St Winifride's in the city.

However, those school buildings were previously used to house primary schools. Primary schools in the city are also suffering from overcrowding.

He said that at present there is no primary school building available to convert to house a secondary school.

It has been argued, too, that the schools that were converted to secondary schools were not ideally suited for promoting a secondary education.

The official said that a significant number of the children who wrote the examinations and who were not allocated schools, have not qualified for admission to the junior secondary schools. Most of the junior secondary schools were formerly community high schools, which were upgraded.

The official noted, too, many of the students in the city who have been placed in some city schools would not take up their places, which would provide some relief. Those children who would not take up their places would most likely seek admission to private schools but that number would be small.

It would amount to not more than 300 as many of the candidates who wrote the examinations were from private schools and would remain in the private education system, the official said.

The official said, too, that most schools in the city, which previously had primary tops no longer accommodate these students.

This is due to the fact that most community high schools were converted to junior secondary schools with the aim of giving all secondary-age students the opportunity to write the Caribbean Secon-dary Education Certificate Examinations. The community high schools catered for some academic subjects but the focus was on technical and vocational training. (Miranda La Rose)