Editorial

After CSEC, Then What?

STUDENTS who sat this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams will get their results as early 10:00 p.m. today when the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) publishes the results online, two days later than scheduled.

Despite the delay in posting results, this year’s crop of Saint Lucian students who sat the exams would by now find out how challenging the real world of work is. In fact, many are finding it difficult to gain employment due to the limited vacancies. The poor performance of the economy does not help their search, either.

Saint Lucian students who sat the May/June exams last year recorded an overall pass rate of 71.38% in the General and Technical Proficiency levels. That figure represented a 3.75% increase over the previous year’s overall performance.

Of the 25 secondary schools that fielded candidates last year, five schools recorded declines in performance. The pass rates ranged from 50.00% (Mathematics) to 98.65% (Music). In the case of Mathematics, last year’s overall performance improved by 18.38% over the previous year.

Students who sat this year’s exams face the same dilemma as that of those in many other Caribbean countries where the exams are administered. Even if employment is hard to come by, many will undoubtedly find it challenging to pursue higher learning within the region or further afield. In cases like these, many will inevitably begin to question their relevance.

For those fortunate enough to find employment and move on to higher learning, they must view such opportunities not as entitlements but rather closely-guarded treasures. The pursuit of education should not be taken lightly, especially when it is becoming clearer each day that economic and other positive prospects lie squarely on education.

That said, what needs to be done at a national level is to create a national service programme in which school-leavers can enlist for, say, a year or two. Having gone through the programme and rendering their skills free of charge in the interest of national development, they would then earn either part or full scholarship or employment from the government and/or the private sector.

With even CXC undergoing its intensive transformation to make “real world education” its goal, governments within the region need to tap into the human capacity leaving their classrooms after having sat the annual CSEC exams. Generating employment might very well come from creating such a programme that safeguards our school-leavers, many of whom fall by the wayside due to despondency.

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