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Students of hinterland Regions have not been excluded from this development drive. An analysis of the results of students who took the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations over a six-year period (1997-2002) indicates that the performance of students has been improving annually.
Regions One (Barima/Waini), Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) are categorised as hinterland Regions. In Region Seven, however, over the six-year period, Bartica Secondary School was not included in the list of schools of which the analysis was done.
This happened mainly because Bartica is considered part of the Coast and the school’s population is very mixed, when compared to schools in Regions One and Nine where the majority of students are Amerindians.
The table below shows the general percentage of passes at CXC for the period under study.
Paramakatoi Community High School is the only secondary school in Region Eight and in Region Nine there are currently three. However, during the period of study, St. Ignatius Secondary School was the only secondary school in the Region offering subjects at the CXC. Annai and Aishalton Secondary schools are still in the process of preparing students to take this Regional exam.
Students’ performances at the North West Secondary School and the Santa Rosa Secondary school have been consistently good, especially in Integrated Science since 1997.
Both schools have recorded 100 per cent passes in this subject area over the period of analysis, with most students obtaining grade three passes, meaning that they have a “fairly good grasp of the key concepts, knowledge, skills and abilities required by the exam syllabus”.
The CXC introduced a six-point grading scheme in 1998, which stipulates that Grades One through Three in the new scheme are equivalent to Grades One through Two under the old scheme. Under this scheme, Grades One through Four are requirements for employment.
Grade One shows that students have a comprehensive grasp of the key concepts, knowledge, skills and abilities required by the syllabus.
St. Ignatius Secondary School has also been performing well in this subject area. For three years, it recorded 100 per cent passes, while in two years 82 per cent and 90 per cent respectively were recorded.
In the humanities subject area, CXC results show that Amerindian students are very strong in writing the English Language. More than half of the students who write the exams qualify with grades one to three annually.
Grade Ones have been forthcoming mostly from St. Ignatius Secondary in the Rupununi. Region Nine has recorded five Grade Ones in English Language over the six years as against three, in Region One and none in Region Eight over the same period.
Perhaps better writing skills in Region Nine are due to the fact that English is a second language there. Most of the villagers speak in their traditional languages.
The performance in Mathematics has been very poor throughout the period of analysis. Student grades in the three Regions range mostly in the three to four category which means that they merely have computation skills, but their comprehension and reasoning of the subject area are lacking.
In Region One, the highest grade any student received in Maths was Grade Two in 1997. Only one student attained this grade in the entire Region over the six years.
History has had good performances, especially in Region One. For the first four years, Santa Rosa attained 100 per cent passes with Grades Two through Four. North West Secondary has had a fair level of consistency in this subject area. The performance rate varied slightly between the 60s, 70s and 80s over the years while Region Nine, over the two years it offered the subject, had 100 per cent and 50 per cent passes, respectively during 2001 and 2002.
Paramakatoi Secondary School offered English as a main subject over the period of examination, but Mathematics was only offered in the last two years.
While the Government has been making dedicated efforts to improving the level of education in the hinterland areas, students and teachers in these areas need to dedicate their school life to improving their performance, especially in core subject areas, such as, Maths and English.
These subjects are prerequisites and compulsory for the work environment.
With the high number of teacher undergoing training through the Guyana Basic Education Training (GBET) programme, it is expected that the performance of these hinterland students would be much improved over the next few years.
Many of the secondary schools that now exist in the hinterland were not there 10 years ago. Waramadong Secondary in the Upper Mazaruni District of Region Seven is still in its embryonic stages and students in this area would soon join in the national team of writing this Regional Exam.