Sunday, 4 March 2012

Trinidad Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian schools underperforming

In an article in the Trinidad Express written by Juhel Browne on March 1st entitled "$4 million in equipment missing from School district" the education minister "Tim Gopeesingh" commented about the under performance of schools:

“Four out of ten Anglican and Catholic Schools are underperforming. One of out five Presbyterian schools is underperforming. The Maha Sabha schools they stumped in the middle with average performance. The ASJA is doing the best,

The interview with the minister was done after Prince Edward of the UK visited the Belmont boys Roman Catholic Primary School. The minister mentioned that he was to have a meeting with the denominational school boards to discuss the schools management:

He said of the nation’s 456 primary schools, 350 are denominational while 43 out of the 152 secondary schools are denominational.

The minister said the Government pays for their principals, teachers, bills and repairs.

As such, he says there needs to be a review of their management practices as he is expressing concerns about the performance of these schools.

Goopeesingh added: “When we have less than one per cent of our students in the SEA making more than 95, only six per cent making more than 90, and one out of two students failing to get 50 per cent and this has been continuing for seven years now. this is unacceptable.”

Now a report from the ministry of March 2011 (last year), says that less children are writing the SEA exam. This is because children are being held back because they are not up to standard and because of lower enrollments. The report noted that there were 4000 students less in 2011 than there was in 2001. In 2011, 17327 children wrote the SEA exam. A 19% drop. Almost one fifth less. Wow!

The question is with less students, should not the teachers perform better at teaching? What is going on in the schools? The teachers are probably blaming the children and their parents. There should be a proper investigation into the matter. 9000 children not achieving 50% in the exam is awful.

You know the funny thing is that the Ministry of Education issued a report on the SEA exam for the period 2001-2004 in which it showed that many students failed in achieving the national Mean of 200 points. I wonder what was done then, or between now and then to address the issue?

Well the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) got involved in 2006 to 2008 to help with institutional strengthening and capacity building support in the education system in Trinidad. Maybe their programmes did not help.

Maybe Doctor Tim Gopeesingh has some good ideas, maybe he doesn't.... I am watching. Let's see what will happen.


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  2. School, parent and teachers alike need to work together our society has changed and so have our parenting skills and by extension our children. The tertiary education units are producing qualified individuals every year why is there still 1 teacher to 25 children we are still working with an 1999 syllabus. To become a principal you must be have teaching experience but to become the minister of education you have to be a medical doctor. Who has taken away the already under staffed social workers from our at risk schools - preparing for more $69 work force.Our society is one of an reactive rather than proactive. How does these school that perform really manage and what is the size of their PTA committee.