Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dangerous times

So…. In 2012 when the last round of public senior secondary exams were allowed to take place, only 10% of the candidates countrywide passed.  Worrying!  Very worrying!  Very worrying for all concerned.  The minister’s solution?  He cancelled the 2013 round of exams and decided that all candidates must undertake a 4th year of Senior Secondary schooling.  Well… ok… clearly they had not been sufficiently prepared but is just more of the same going to solve the problem? 

EducAid’s students didn’t take 4 years to get 100% pass rate.  They had well trained teachers.  Surely 4 years of poor teaching is not going to be better than 3 years of poor teaching.  The answer is to train the teachers, motivate the teachers, provide the teachers and learners with appropriate teaching and learning resources.

This year, when the entries have gone in to the exams council, the ministry has intervened and deleted all those candidates who have not got their BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination) results from at least 4 years ago and NPSE (National Primary School Examination) results from at least 3 years ago are not being entered.  There is no test to check if students are ready or not.  There is no allowance for bright ones who are able to push themselves and do the work faster.  (We have students who are ready for the BECE in 1 year at times and in 2 years often.) Children who sat their junior exams in Guinea – there are still plenty of them since the war – cannot sit without going right back to the beginning again.  Our Women’s Project, a catch up education programme for girls of secondary age but below secondary standard, will now no longer be able to fast track girls back into mainstream classes and get them fit for public exams.  Unless, the minister’s decision is overturned we have a very significant problem of youngsters who will be so demotivated they will revolt.  This is looking just like some of the pre-war decisions that left so many young people feeling marginalised, frustrated, angry and ready for recruitment!

Very very worrying!

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