I wish to make some suggestions regarding the distribution of National Scholarships for our Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) pupils.
At present, most of the scholarship winners come from the prestige schools, which are the denominational schools, and these are the schools which get the most brilliant pupils from the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exams. The majority of pupils who are placed in the Government schools usually have lower marks from SEA.
The copping of a scholarship is a prestigious accomplishment and it serves not only to inspire the individual who would have won the scholarship, but also to motivate all of his/her peers at the respective school. In order to change the mindset of many of the pupils in the non-prestige schools to uplift them from mediocrity and failure to excellence, it might be a wise idea to restructure the distribution of national scholarships.
I would like to suggest scholarships be distributed on a quota system, with 50 per cent going to the denominational schools and the other 50 per cent going to the Government schools. There can be a further sub-division based on educational district.
Additionally, the President’s Medal can be awarded to two schools—one to a denominational school and the other to a Government school.
I firmly believe if we can find ways to motivate and inspire our pupils, we can significantly reduce the high rate of failure in our educational system, which would in turn create a better future for our country. Must we continue to find ways to please and appease some of these denominational boards, or do we start to drive our entire country forward?
Preston Kissoon, vice-principal (secondary)