February 23, 2020

The Editor speaks: Satisfactory doesn’t mean a ‘pat on the back’


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Colin Wilson

If one is to read the press release from our Education Department one would think the ‘satisfactory’ grade some of our schools received was bringing home a gold medal.

Sorry. It is far short.

Yes, there has been some improvement. Thank goodness, because if ‘satisfactory’ isn’t achieved it is a disaster.

If you read the report carefully it would seem the ‘satisfactory’ grade was only just met. It is astonishing to me that schools book stock had been boosted not by government but by local charity donations.

That is shocking!!!

The largest area of improvement was in maths and the areas coming short was in reading and children’s behaviour. Teachers were, not surprisingly, having problems in installing discipline. And the main reason for bad behaviour lies with the parents.

There were many instances where the school inspector’s found inconsistency with the teaching staff. Are there no checks in this area? This would seem to be the number one requirement. How can pupils possibly obtain adequate, let alone high grades, from bad teachers?

It is not all good news from the private schools.

At the First Baptist School that is owned by the church and caters from Kindergarten to Grade 6. 90% of the parents surveyed said they thought their children were making good progress. The good progress was in behaviour. Weak grade was given to Mathematics and Reading and “Students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in reading and writing did not meet internationally expected standards.”

I expect the parents of the children now will be demanding some answers. They are paying for quality education not good behaviour, where most of that is learnt at home.

Good marks must go to George Town Primary School Principal Sharon Campbell-Danvers, who took over the school in August 2017, and has made a huge difference in turning the school from an education disaster to now ‘satisfactory’.

She organised many parent and student conferences, and took guidance herself from professionals.

OES Director Peter Carpenter said the school had turned a significant corner but “it must and can aim a lot higher”.

I’m sure M/s Sharon Campbell-Danvers already understands that piece of ‘advice’.

The ‘weak’ hasn’t become the ‘strong’ and I hope ‘satisfactory’ hasn’t become the standard. There are no pats on the back for that grade.

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