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…14,300 candidates already enrolled
By Lisa Hamilton
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand has announced that the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) 2021 will be held on August 4 and 5, with candidates writing Paper One and Two. Already, 14,300 candidates have been enrolled representing an increase from the previous year which saw 14,032 candidates.
The Minister and others from the Ministry met with the media at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) on Thursday. There, it was also announced that there will be two mock examinations administered leading up to the official examination dates.
Each Grade Six student will receive a care package from the Ministry which will include learning resources such as textbooks to help them prepare for the exam.
The placement exam will include the distribution of a consolidated curriculum for which teachers will be trained immediately so that they can prepare students for the upcoming exam. It is a resource document for Grade Six teachers extracted from the existing curriculum. It does not introduce any new concepts. Usually, there are 40 weeks of learning to prepare for the exams but now, what students will have to cover will work out to 17 weeks of actual work.
The curriculum was crafted by experts inclusive of international consultants and officers at NCERD. Minister Manickchand said that the curriculum will ensure equity and equality in the education system.
“It must be noted that the extracted content has not been dismissed or dropped. The benefit of the spiral curriculum is that those concepts would have already been covered or will be covered when learners move into Secondary school or during their secondary level preparatory term of Grade Six,” she stated.
“We expect teachers and parents to collaborate to immediately begin focusing on the delivery of education according to the consolidated curriculum.”
Additionally, grade-specific timetable material and revision exercises will be shared on the Guyana Learning Channel and radio while worksheets will continue to be distributed country-wide. Resource materials such as books, past papers and worksheets can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website.
Meanwhile, each public school child will receive ‘Let’s do Mathematics: Book Five’, ‘Fun With Language: Book Five’, ‘Science Around Us: Book Five’, ‘Social Studies for Children: Book Five’, ‘Graded Math: Book Five’, ‘A Process of Learning Mathematics: Book Five’, ‘A Process of Learning Language Arts: Book Five’, ‘Mastering Vocabulary: Book Five’, ‘Understanding English Grammar: Book Five’, Social Studies Made Easy: Book Five and Six, Science Made Easy: Book Five and Six’, Guyana Our Country, Our Home Book Five and Six. Systems will be put in place to have these books returned following the examinations.
On the other hand, if they so wish, private schools can choose not to do the NGSA exams, however, Manickchand said that private schools have been teaching online since the emergence of the pandemic and are largely prepared for the examination.
If a public-school child chooses to opt-out of the exam by choice or emergency, they will be placed based on the Ministry’s policy for placement which is to be given the national average in the Region and be placed in a requisite school.
During the engagement, the Minister also explained why worksheets are being distributed to all students in Guyana and not just the vulnerable. She explained that while the Ministry first began distributing worksheets to cater for the vulnerable assuming that the vulnerable would be located in far-out regions where there is no access to the internet, it was discovered that there were such vulnerable children even in the capital.
Though the printing of the worksheets and the delivery of the resources have been described as “very costly”, the Education Minister said that she is pleased that the Government was willing to spend in the interest of its children.
“We at the Ministry of Education will not leave our students and teachers alone during this process. We understand that we are living in different times and we need to support our learners, teachers and parents as much as possible to ensure students remain in school and education is delivered effectively,” Minister Manickchand said.