Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Letter of the Day | The Calabar decision

Published:Thursday | September 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I, too, would like to weigh in on the decision of the Calabar board of management to mandate that a certain number of Form 4 boys pursue their education elsewhere because they had averages of lower than 60 per cent (or that they had 60 per cent in too few subject areas).

I am the proud member of a board of a great school in a prominent rural town. In addition, I chair the academic excellence committee. We have seen improvement over the years in CSEC results, even with students who are on academic probation (50 - 59 per cent). We now have a third or more of the cohort scoring grade one in English A and mathematics. This year, there were 141 grade ones in English A (total number of students: 287) and grade one in mathematics (Total number of students: 294). I recall the joy we all felt last year when for the first time, there were more than 100 ones in mathematics.


Code of Regulations


But let me return to the Calabar fiasco. The fact is that these boys will have a place in Form 5 at Calabar because the board did not follow due procedure, and I trust that those entities which have come out in support of the Calabar administration understand this. You cannot win when you do not observe the Code of Regulations (1980).

Apart from procedure, I disagree with Calabar in two areas. I would favour giving those boys who scored between 50 and 59 per cent a chance. Second, and more important, is that I believe that such a decision should have been taken at the end of Form 3. The fact is that these boys had not mastered the Form 3 curriculum, how in heaven's name would they have mastered the Form 4 curriculum?




How grading has changed in our high schools! In my time, a 50 per cent average was considered good enough. I came 4th in Form 1A (out of 35) with averages in the mid-60s and my parents and I thought I was doing pretty well. In those days, in the screen test, if you got 50 per cent for a subject, you didn't fear failing it in GCE O' Level six months later. In fact, the school would allow you to take subjects in which you had scored 45 per cent (D) because you had a six-month period to improve.

In the Calabar scenario, how many boys scored between 50 and 59 per cent, 40 and 49 per cent and so on. I would especially like to know how many scored between 20 and 29 per cent or lower. And how many of these boys had been recruited for their prowess in a sport?

Norman W.M. Thompson

Department of Humanities

Northern Caribbean University