Thursday, December 14, 2017

Education system failing pupils

When the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results for 2014 are released, there will be much joy, especially for the pupils who placed in the first 500. Cameras will be flashing and the Honourable Minister of Education will be attending photoshoots with the top three pupils in the country.

In the midst of all this jubilation, will anyone remember Devindra Boodoo? Devindra was the teenager who committed suicide on the eve of his SEA examination. Is anyone to blame? Some will say no! The answer, though, is yes! The education system is to blame!

As an educator, I can surmise what happened here without knowing the specific details. It is highly likely he was undergoing severe psychological trauma because he had a learning disability. A learning disability can be classified under the following categories: visual dyslexia, auditory dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia. A person who is dyslexic is of above average intelligence and can past an exam orally. However, they would have difficulty with reading, writing and spelling.

Devindra Boodoo, due to his reported age (13), more than likely would have repeated a standard on his way to the SEA exam. He is not alone in this often-misunderstood plight. There are thousands of pupils with learning disabilities who struggle yearly in our school system.

Unfortunately, Devindra acted out in a negative way. A child with a learning disability will also have very low self-esteem, which will lead to depression, which may or may not lead to suicide, depending on the individual. Was Devindra Boodoo diagnosed by the education system? Were his teachers trained to detect this and help with remedial work?

Please, authorities involved in education, we need to help children within our school system not only with learning disabilities, achieve. Educators, you must have learnt not all children learn the same way. Our education system is failing almost half of our student population and nothing is being done!

C Lakatoo

The Special Child Foundation