Publish the results
By Corey Worrell | Thu, September 13, 2012 - 12:01 AM
I have been PRIVILEGED to receive free education in this country – something that I deeply appreciate. It was only when I started travelling the world that I realized how blessed we are as a Barbadian society.
I don’t know if you have realized the number of schoolchildren who have brand-name schoolbags: Roxy, QuikSilver and, of course, the famous North Face. If you go online you can buy a North Face bag for anywhere between US$45 and $130. Here in Barbados they can cost between BDS$240 and $350.
On Tuesday I stopped a student and we had a conversation.
Me: Didn’t you have a different North Face bag last term?
Student: Yes, sir.
Me: So why you buy another one?
Student: ’Cause I duz ride ’bout in the other one now I got a new one.
Me: How much that bag cost?
Student: $350, sir.
In 2008 I was to attend the Commonwealth Youth Minister’s Meeting in Sri Lanka along with the Minister of Youth and the Director of Youth. I had a responsibility to be there, as I was the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. I contacted the minister and informed her I could not honour my invitation to attend since I was preparing a 5th form for CXC mathematics.
During that week, many of my students told me their parents said they couldn’t afford calculators because things were tight at home. A few weeks later as it was nearing time for the school cruise, I sat in class and overheard the same students bragging that they got their Lacoste jacket for $350, their Levi jeans for $150 and their Air Force 1s for $250. (A calculator in PriceSmart costs $22.)
I am a huge fan of brand-name apparel because they fit and look better and generally last longer, but I understand the value of them.
We are developing a society of young people who are being rewarded without earning those rewards. In most of our schools, students are being promoted a year level without achieving the grades to advance.
I had students at a previous school tell me, “Sir, I gone up with 33 per cent, duh cuh only stop down seven.”
Why is it that we continue to reward mediocre performance? The brain learns by patterns and once that pattern is repeated it becomes a default solution. As long as we continue to reward children’s mediocre performance, they will continue to perform poorly.
Yes, I know that the system is unfairly set up for the academically strong, but many of our students are not giving of their best and yet they are rewarded with BlackBerrys, iPods, $400 Jordans and $350 schoolbags.
We complain about the poor production and lack of service in public offices and business, yet we don’t realize that the same students who have been rewarded all their lives for poor performance continue that pattern in the workplace.
Parents need to learn to make wise, hard and loving decisions. Love is expressed not only through emotional and physical communication but also in decision-making.
I know this country needs a reality check. We as a nation need to wake up and come to grips with what we are really facing. Here are the numbers of students who passed the CXC mathematics exam from three secondary schools: 20 per cent, 12 per cent and 40 per cent. I was told that across the entire region only 33 per cent of the students passed mathematics.
We taxpayers pay for this education, so that makes us shareholders. I believe we all should know the results of our investment. I am asking the Minister of Education to publish in the print media a statistical breakdown of the percentage of passes and fails along with the numbers receiving each grade (from 1 through 6) for all subjects at the CXC level for all secondary schools. Readers, please help me push for this.
We publish the financial Budget; we publish the Scholarship winners; we publish sports results; we need to publish our educational results as well. We boast about our education system being one of the best in the world. Let the records speak for themselves.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Editor's Choice