Top schools increase intake

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…1,600 students to be removed from ‘primary tops’

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand has announced that the ministry has made significant strides in removing children from ‘Primary Tops’, thereby enabling 1,600 more students to attend a top-performing secondary school.

At the announcement of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) 2021 results on Friday, Minister Manickchand said that representatives from the Ministry have been visiting various secondary schools to find as many spaces as possible in those schools to accommodate more children.

She explained that what occurs is that when a school reaches its capacity of students who can attend — with priority to those with the highest marks — those excluded are sent back to their primary schools. At the primary schools, they become part of the ‘Primary Tops’ whereby they receive secondary school level teaching. However, the Education Minister said that over the years this has not been conducive to secondary education.

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The Bishops’ High School

Giving examples of the changes that will take place, the Minister said: “So, where originally the Ministry would award 122 seats to the coveted Queen’s College, this year 167 children will go into Queen’s College. Where before 100 children would go to Bishops’, this year, 145 children will go to Bishops’. Where before 100 children would go to St. Stanislaus, this year 120 children will go to St. Stanislaus.”

Additionally, St. Joseph’s will increase from 100 to 150 seats, New Amsterdam Multilateral will increase from 75 to 175 seats and Berbice High will see an additional 45 seats added. There has been no provision for additional seats at St. Rose’s High because the school is still under construction.

“We’re trying very hard to make space…we’re not just throwing the children in and saying ‘hey take them’. We’re making sure they have furniture and textbooks and teachers and everything else they need to accommodate those larger numbers. We’re able to move 1,600 children out of primary tops,” she said.

The Minister explained further that in many cases, the difference between why a top-performing child was unable to attend a coveted school like Queen’s College is not because they are not intelligent but because of the schools capacity.

As announced recently by the Ministry, out of the 527 marks attainable at the 2021 NGSA, the cut-off mark for the country’s top schools are Queen’s College – 510, The Bishops’ High – 505, St. Stanislaus College – 501; St. Roses High – 498, St. Joseph’s High – 494 and President’s College – 484.

“At. St. Rose’s, we would have liked to put 100 children. The cut-off, I believe, for St. Rose’s this year is 498. At 498 there are 97 children. So, we have the base for three more, but if we go [lower] into 497 it becomes 136 children [because] 39 children are tying for that one spot,” Manickchang explained.

She added: “I want to speak to the children here, particularly the parents. If you got a good school, you’re lucky, but you’re not better than the other child who didn’t get the school you got.”

This year, 13,821 candidates wrote this NGSA examination



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