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Congratulations to all the students who sat the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA). The fact that they were able to sit the examination, at short notice, in the novel coronavirus (covid-19) environment which forced many to stay indoors could not have been easy. Those who received marks that allowed them to go to the high school of their dreams, kudos! Your determination and hard work paid off.
Preparation for this year’s assessment ended prematurely because the schools were also part of the national lockdown. Innovative ways had to be found for those children to continue learning, managing examination anxiety and other socioeconomic anxieties that arose from the lockdown and impacted their families.
Guyana’s lockdown began in April and the NGSA was held on July 1st and 2nd. It meant for the duration of this period children did not have the benefit of direct physical contact with their teachers to go over final preparations for the examination. The needed assurance, only a teacher can give an anxious child, by the way of direct interface was also not provided this year.
That our children had to rely on whatever support mechanism and resources were available yet stayed focused is commendable. The teachers who made themselves accessible to counsel and nurture their students prove their commitment to the profession and love for what they do. Thank you! Parents being at home due to the lockdown found that they had inordinately more time with their children and doubled as teachers.
Covid 19 has taught us new ways to get things done, and true to who we are, our creative side shone through. Students approached preparation using different strategies based on what they thought would work best for them and the supporting structures available.
The Village Voice caught up with Samuel Barkoye and Rovin Lall, who topped the country with 525 out of a total score of 528. They are both students of public school, sharing their experiences of how they got through the NGSA. They were asked by this newspaper what is responsible for their success and what advice they would give students sitting next year’s NGSA. Each had a unique approach.
Samuel said it is important to have adequate amounts of rest, study often and find time for recreation. According to him, “You know they say all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, so I had my fair share of play and I balanced it equally with studying.” Rovin feels success came from working on past papers, revising every night and paying attention in the classroom. He said if students use these approaches they will “learn different things and be successful and be ready for the exams.”
Special congratulations to all the high achievers around Guyana!
Those who did not get the marks and consequently the school they aimed for it is not the end of the road. Understandably there will be disappointment. Use the experience to evaluate what could have been done differently. It may require a different approach to studying, classroom attention, interaction with teachers and classmates, or coping with other stresses not within the child’s control.
The new school would bring new opportunities. Working harder would pay off greatly. In the next four or five years these students will again be sitting a similar examination, i.e. the Caribbean Examinations. The opportunity will present itself to better the NGSA marks, even pass more subjects than those who went to so-called better schools. These students could look back at the NGSA results as a wake call to prove their capability to do better.
Congratulations to all NGSA students who sat this year’s examination! Continue to make yourself, family and Guyana proud.