We need to raise the bar to give our chil­dren the best in ed­u­ca­tion

Fiji Sun - - Comment - NE­MANI DELAIBATIKI

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.

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