MINISTER OF Education Ronald Thwaites has described the performance of students in this year's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations as shocking.
Speaking yesterday at the Ministry's Kingston office, he said the country would have to confront the critical statistics, which pointed to a decrease in the percentage of pupils who passed the exams.
He said 46.2 per cent of the students passed English Language, compared with a pass rate of 63.9 per cent last year and 64.9 per cent in 2010. While in Mathematics, 31.7 attained passes, a decrease from 33.2 per cent last year and 39.5 per cent in 2010.
Worst in math
Of all the subject areas, mathematics had the lowest results, while physical education and sports generally had the highest with 98.2 per cent, compared to 97.6 per cent last year and 98.8 per cent in 2010.
Of the overall students who sat the exams, 61.8 per cent passed, compared to 66.4 per cent last year and 69.3 per cent in 2010.
"We are very disappointed in these results. We are too accustomed to mediocrity and this has to change. This is something the country has to come to grips with," Thwaites said.
He said this was a clear indication that proper early childhood development was crucial, which would be a strong emphasis of his tenure.
He said another critical issue was that up to 20 per cent of the students did not turn up for the exams that were paid for by the government and this was costing the country millions.