We need to raise the bar to give our children the best in education
The Year 6 Examination Results released yesterday makes interesting reading. When examinations were restored last year, the pass rate was as follows: English 43 per cent, Mathematics 51 per cent, General Subjects 37 per cent, Na Vosa Vakaviti 63 per cent, Hindi 41 per cent, Urdu 33 per cent, Rotuman 41 per cent.
For this year, the results just released show: English 54 per cent, Mathematics 29 per cent, General Subjects 47 per cent, Na Vosa Vakaviti 56 per cent, Hindi 46 per cent, Urdu 38 per cent, Rotuman 65 per cent. Despite the disruption to classes in many schools during and after Cyclone Winston there was improvement in five of the seven subject areas. There was a 11 per cent jump in English to 54 per cent. In the General Subjects there was a 10 per cent rise to 47 per cent. Increases were also recorded in the vernacular subjects. The improvements proved that the return to an exam-based system was right. When it made that decision the ministry said examination was designed to: identify students’ strengths and weaknesses; provide a way to measure a teacher and/or school’s effectiveness;
lead to pedagogical improvement The results for these two years have exposed the gaps that exist. They show that our children’s education cannot be based solely on class-based assessments. These assessments were made on assignments given to students to produce from their own research. There was speculation that some parents did the assignments for their children in order to meet the deadlines. If that was true, then the students had not learned. The examinations would expose this. Both classed-based assessments and examinations go hand-in-hand. They complement each other. A major concern is the drop in the mathematics pass rate from 51 per cent to 29 per cent. This is a big decline, which the ministry no doubt has already noted. If five other subject areas had an improvement, why did mathematics fail so badly?
The spotlight is on the students, teachers and parents. The big drop in the pass rate indicates that the poor results were recorded right across the country. Either the students were not taught properly or were using the wrong syllabus or there was a lack of parental support.
Parental supervision is part of the equation. If parents are regularly checking or monitoring their children’s schoolwork, they will know when it dips and when to intervene and take remedial action.
It is not enough to wait for the parents’ and teachers’ interview to lean how the children have performed. Proactive parents will track their children’s progress weekly or even daily and help when needed. If they spot a decline and it becomes a trend then they need to ask the appropriate questions to both the students and the teachers with a view to addressing the problem. Education is a partnership between the three stakeholders, the students, parents and teachers.
Parents play a vital role in guiding their children to success. We see evidence of this in the prizegivings now happening in schools. Many prize-getters pay tribute to their parents for their achievements. Teachers must also be held accountable for the performance of their students. Teacher’s annual appraisal should be enforced to ensure they are meeting their key performance indicators.
It’s all about raising the bar to ensure that our children get the best attention in education.