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….English, Social Studies picked up,
… science falls.back
By Lisa Hamilton
While the results for the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) 2021 show that pupils improved on the previous years in the areas of English and Social Studies, there was a drop in performance in Maths and Science.
According to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, this is evidence that while the year was a difficult one because of the pandemic, more needs to be in the subject areas that are falling short.
Presenting the statistics at the announcement of the NGSA 2021 results on Friday was Director of Operations at CXC, Dr. Nicole Manning. CXC managed the 2021 NGSA Examinations because the Ministry of Education hoped to ensure the highest level of professionalism and accuracy.
Dr. Manning announced that subjects that saw an increase in performance included Social Studies, moving up from 52.51 percent in 2020 to 56.3 percent in 2021 and English, moving from 61.22 percent in 2020 to 65.71 percent in 2021.
However, one of the notable subjects that saw a decline in performance was Maths. Dr. Manning said that Maths recorded the lowest performance seen in the last four years at only 36.5 percent.
The performance for Maths was at its highest in 2019 at 42.04 percent and was also higher than the current year in 2018 and 2020 at 38.28 percent and 39.43 percent respectively.
Science also saw its lowest performance over the last four years with an average of 40.12 percent dropping from 46.84 percent in 2020. Dr. Manning summarized: “Notably, for mathematics, the best year would have been 2019 at a high of 42 percent. For English 2021 would have been the best performing year at a high of 65.7 percent and for Social Studies, you would have seen 2021 having the highest performance at 56.3 percent and for Science you’ll be seeing 2018 having the best performance at 46.8 percent…so it’s very important to understand the analytics behind this and to look at strategies to make sure that we have improvements in all four subjects.” Any review requested by candidates or the Ministry will be conducted by CXC as opposed to the National Center of Educational Resources Development (NCERD).
Manickchand said that the year has been a difficult one for pupils, teachers and parents but the pupils have proven that they have what it takes to excel no matter the circumstance.
Schools were closed in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and later reopened for face-to-face learning or a hybrid approach of online and in-person. On the sidelines of the programme, the Education Minister said she wasn’t sure how the examinations would turn out but the Ministry of Education knew that it had to do something.
“I thought we would have done a lot worse. I was very nervous about it. To deliver education differently from the way the country had done it since we came into existence [was hard]. Even before we had schools and people used to teach in churches and under trees, it was always face-to-face. So, to have done that…it was always very risky, but we had no choice,” she said.
The Minister highlighted the positive difference the Ministry made through the provision of a television progamme tailored to the pupils, the posting of questions online, the consolidation of the curriculum into 20 weeks, the improvement of the Guyana Learning Channel, the delivery of workbooks and more.
Summarizing her thoughts on the exam and the performance of pupils, Manickchand said: “Human beings are resilient. COVID will never win, and things like COVID will never win and that is because we will always stand up [and] face down challenges we have. There is nothing like ‘can’t’ and we will rise up from this. So to the parents, to the teachers and to the students who help show this country and this world that we can innovate around challenges, that we can beat problems, I thank you, and today I celebrate you.”