BUT president Belinda Wilson.
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
After seeing the results of the country’s national examinations, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers Belinda Wilson is recommending that the Ministry of Education repeat the 2020 educational year and stop social promotion in schools.
The Ministry of Education issued a press release on Wednesday which stated that national exam results worsened in 2020 compared to 2019, with fewer students achieving A, B and C grades and more students receiving D, E, F and G grades compared to the year before.
The BUT president says the education system has continually failed the children of The Bahamas.
She said: “I strongly recommend that the Ministry of Education stop, review, cancel, pause and consider students having the opportunity to repeat the 2020 school year and that the social promotion practices cease forthwith. It is so sad, but true – the educational system has failed the children of this nation over and over and over.
“The results of the 2020 BJC and BGCSE National Examinations is not a surprise. From the onset I advocated for the sitting of the exams to be cancelled and that the students be awarded predicted grades. If this method was used, as it was used in the United Kingdom and in 160 countries and 10,000 institutions, then 100 percent of our students would have received grades.
“Then today, the Ministry of Education would not be lamenting the fact that the number of candidates that sat the exams was substantially lower than 2019.”
Ms Wilson is not hopeful that next year’s examination results will be any better than this year’s and blames a faulty learning platform, among other things, for the poor results.
She continued: “I contend that 2021 exam results will be even worse and participation even less than 2020, because the students this year have had so many interruptions with an inoperable and inadequate virtual platform, school started mid-October, the content and syllabus for the 2021 examination. Most schools are behind schedule.”
In its press release revealing the results of the examinations, the Ministry of Education stated that the total number of BJC grades awarded this year declined by 21.68 percent.
Ms Wilson continued: “The 30 percent of students, stated by the Ministry of Education, who never accessed the virtual platform, sadly equates to approximately 14,400 students. These are students in the public school system which means that the education gap has widened yet again. Students disadvantaged and the underachievers and or students from the lower socio-economic status again have been disenfranchised.
“So with these dismal results and the acknowledgement of the inadequacies of the virtual platform, I ask the following questions, what changes have been put in place to ensure that the 2021 exams will not be a repeat of 2020? What policies will be adopted based on the data from these exam results?”
Ms Wilson also took to task the fact that the ministry’s press release said girls continued to outperform boys in the national exams, receiving higher percentages of A-C grade and lower percentages at E-U grades.
She said: “The results show that girls outperformed the boys. So what new programmes will be executed to assist boys? Will the Ministry of Education continue with the status quo? The rationale put forward by the Ministry of Education for continuing the sitting of the BJC and BGCSE examinations were the results were needed for jobs, the results were needed for colleges and universities.
“The rationale was flawed then and it’s flawed now. In fact, the students who received E, F and U grades will not get jobs and will not get accepted into colleges and universities with those grades. But I ask again, are there any plans for the students to retake these examinations under more conducive circumstances? I know that there are no plans for students to repeat the 2020 school year.”
She said her prayers and thoughts are with the children of The Bahamas and she said, “Lord deliver them from the hands of the visionless”.