THE EDITOR, Sir:
I was reading a story in The Sunday Gleaner of August 19, 2012 headlined 'Wasted effort', where it was reported that a number of schools were insisting that students who have already sat and passed subjects be made to resit those subjects in fifth form.
The primary reason for this, according to the ministry, which says it is in opposition to this practice, is that it is an attempt by most of these schools to up their overall averages when the results of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) are published.
Sharon Reid, principal of the St Andrew High School for Girls, said that the reason her school does it has nothing to do with school image because as an 87-year-old institution the school is "not so hung up". Her rationale is that it is a matter of discipline, and that the mandate is noted in the school's handbook.
Reid's logic is pure rubbish. How does a child and his/her parents deciding to ease the burden of grade 11 by doing a subject or two early contravene a school's policy of discipline? Come on, Ms Reid, not all of us are idiots here.
It's a known fact that CSEC preparation can be a very stressful undertaking for some students. There's also the reality that some students may have the desire to do additional subjects away from their school setting, and the only way this can be accomplished is by shedding some of the load early.
SCHOOLS LOSING FOCUS
How in God's name is this an act of defiance? There's such a thing as goal-setting, strategising and tactical approach. The students set their goals to ace their exams; their strategy is to make the process as stress free as possible, while still getting optimal results. The tactic employed is to do some of the exams early. Isn't seeing to the student's personal accomplishments the primary purpose of schooling?
If yes, why are these school administrators so determined to redefine this fundamental purpose?
The real reason behind schools' resistance is image. Is it that principals and teachers lack confidence in their own ability? Is it that the psychological state of their pupils is a distant second in the list of the school's priorities?
The action of these schools is a perfect reflection of Jamaica's political culture, where the good of the people comes second to the preservation of the image of the ruling parties. This is a damn shame.
MIKHAIAL J. JOHNSON