Archive | August, 2014

SIXTH FORM CLASSISM: SHEER MADNESS OR SHOULD I SAY BLINDNESS

26 Aug

The new school year ready to begin, and some students have found themselves out in the cold. Why? Such cannot attributed to a delinquency in completing the examination; It is not attributed to lack of success in their CSEC examinations; It is certainly attributed to the ridiculous- yes I said ridiculous- criteria set by schools that have Sixth Form. (Sixth form is a micro tertiary institution for students who desire to sit CAPE or Advance GCE examination) A very eager Minister of Education, Mr Ronald Thwaites was bullet fast out of the blocks to announce that there is significant improvement in CSEC passes this year, YET, he is quite OBLIVIOUS to the plight of some of these students. (but then again that is customary of Mr Minister) My guess is that the former adds some beauty to his political career but i must say there is an ugly undertone.

The Ridiculousness

Most schools with Sixth Forms indicated they are only accepting students who attained six (6) grade ones and the others in grade two in their CSEC passes . If they do renegade on this and accept persons with four or five grade ones, the expectation is that those grades one must have been attained in the subject the student wishes to pursue at the sixth form level. In rare circumstances, a school with step outside this criteria to accept students with grades twos and such student would have to had been a student of the institution. If you did not attend the institution and you do not have grade one passes, then you have a problem.
I am angry at this. Is it that we are saying to the students that a grade two is not a good pass? A student who has worked hard and walk away from those examinations attaining eight grade twos, or five grade twos and grade threes in the others, are they to believe they did not do well enough to matriculate to sixth form? If this is not ludicrous I do not know what is. The schools with sixth forms are looking out for their students but who is looking out for the other students?

Classism

A report out of the ministry indicated that less than 20% of the entire school leaving populace are leaving high school with five (5) or more subjects at the CSEC level. So how does one hold a rigid criteria as this? One explanation. Classism. Most schools that have sixth form are the traditional high schools. They are seen as elite schools and the aim is to keep out the ‘undesirables’ from the newly upgraded high schools.  It is so bad that some of these institution closed their sixth form application process even before the CSEC examination results were out.  Some years ago the criteria was not this stringent but it was still enough to traditional high apart from upgraded high schools. The newly upgraded high schools have improved; some are on par or even surpassed some traditional high schools. How do they respond to this? By raising the bar. The goal post has been shifted so these students cannot get in. It is almost like the plantation system. Once a slave, always a slave regardless of category of slave. It means, not even the change is status from “secondary” to “high” school will change how these institutions are viewed.  Better yet, the consistent use of the terms “traditional high” and “newly upgraded”  is a stark indication of the divide in our education institutions. The sad thing is that the students suffer. The traditional high schools will not relent; the Ministry of Education is not giving upgraded high school the green light to start their own sixth form, so what should the students do? All of this is both madness and blindness.

Do you know anyone who has been a victim of this?  What are your thoughts on this? Pray, tell.