Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Devon Dick | Convert same sex schools and save our boys

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 7:00 AM

The recent school rankings based on performance at CSEC examination level tells a tale of woe for all-boys schools. The figures are calculated based on each secondary school enabling its cohort at the end of its five years of secondary education to leave grade 11 with at least five subjects, including English and/or mathematics.

In the top 10 secondary schools there are no all-boys school while in the top 10 there are six all-girls schools, namely number one ranked Immaculate Conception High (100%); number three ranked St Hilda's Diocesan High (98.5%); number four ranked Hampton High (97.7%), number five ranked Mount Alvernia High (97.66%); number six ranked Wolmer's Girls School (96.9%), number seven ranked Westwood High (95.21%); and 10th ranked St Andrew High for Girls (92.9%). The girls who attend these schools are almost guaranteed that they will leave grade 11 with five subjects, including English and/or mathematics. They are well on their way to further their studies or get a reasonable job.

To add to the plight of boys only three schools in the top 10 are co-ed, namely, number two ranked Campion (99.5%); number eighth ranked Glenmuir (95.14%); and DeCarteret College (94.4%).

There are some non-traditional co-ed high schools that are doing better that all-boys school. Take, for example, the great Calabar High School which was founded for boys in 1912. Calabar is ranked number 45 with 43.8% of the boys leaving grade 11 with five subjects or more, including mathematics and/or English. However, seven non-traditional co-ed high schools, namely Charlemont High, Ferncourt High, Denbigh High, May Day High, Annotto Bay High, Gaynstead High and Mona had better results than Calabar.

The highest ranked all-boys school is Wolmer's Boys at number 15 with 88.1%. However, co-ed schools such as Morant High in St Thomas and Knox College in Clarendon are doing better than Wolmer's.

 

Don't blame sports

 

It cannot be blamed on sports why the all-boys schools are not doing well because apart from Wolmers, there are St George's and Munro with respectable 88%; Kingston College with a satisfactory 70.3% and Jamaica College barely passing with 59%.

It cannot be blamed either on the quality of the GSAT students because most of them enter traditional all-boys schools with scores of 70%. Even if the questions are multiple choice at GSAT level, students have to do calculations and reasoning before selecting an option.

There are no same-sex basic, primary or preparatory schools, so why at the age of 11 they have to be segregated? There are no same-sex tertiary education, so why the level below has to be streamed according to gender? There is even a school of thought that children with disabilities should not be segregated by themselves but should be part of the 'regular' educational system. This segregation into same sex schools is a relic of our colonial past and should be changed.

There are also other problems with one school scoring 0%, and there are 54 schools scoring below 10% and 120 schools out of 161 getting below 50% of the students leaving grade 11 with five subjects, including mathematics and/or English!

I am not sure who did these rankings but I received this information via email. It could be worse if the five subjects had to include both core subjects of English and mathematics.

The socialisation of boys with the girls at school and rubbing shoulders with the higher standards of the girls should help the boys.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.