Categorized | National News

Fewer Students Sitting BGCSEs

For the second year in a row fewer Bahamian students registered to sit the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education examinations (BGCSE).

In 2011, there were 9,415 registered candidates. That number dropped to 9,009 in 2012 and dropped yet again this year by nearly 2,000 to 7,138.

Family Island students make up 2,483 of those candidates while 4,655 of them are from New Providence.

Most employers in The Bahamas require that applicants have a minimum of five BGCSEs with a ‘C’ grade or above.

Many are now questioning whether high school students have lost interest in getting an education

Former Minister of Education Desmond Bannister said students aren’t entirely to blame.

He said he believes today’s parents are generally not as engaged and as interested in their children’s academic performance as parents of yesteryear.

“Over the past two decades we have de-emphasised the importance of education on our family. The importance of getting an education, the importance of parents sitting down and helping their children with their homework and the importance of parents just spending time with their children to ensure that they are doing their schoolwork, we have all lost [that],” he said.

“We don’t spend the time we need to spend with the children and so when we as the parents don’t take that education important then they as children don’t either.”

In a subject by subject breakdown, the number of students sitting the three main subjects: Mathematics, Biology and English all increased, while the number of students taking foreign language subjects Spanish and French both decreased.

According to the statistics, the number of females taking the BGCSE examinations doubled that of their male counterparts and for the second year in a row the number of males taking the examinations decreased.

Statistics also show that on average, female students perform slightly better than their male counterparts.

Mr. Bannister said aside from parenting, there are other factors that come into play, like learning disabilities.

He said the Bahamian society isn’t as accepting to diagnosing children with learning disabilities as it should be.

“Most of the time, the children aren’t allowed to take these exams because the teachers don’t allow them to and they do this based on how they see them perform in class,” he said.

“But throughout our country we have students that have special needs in education. It doesn’t mean that they’re dumb and it doesn’t mean that they’re less smart than anyone else. It just means that they have to be taught a certain way. They have to learn a certain way and there are specialists to teach that way.”

Mr. Bannister said the former government planned to implement a national high school diploma that would have made it mandatory for students to take five BGCSEs in order to graduate. However, he said those plans were delayed.

He said when the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government assumed office last year it delayed those plans further.

There are 25 BGCSE examinations in total and they have a 7-point grading scale that ranges from an ‘A’ to a ‘G.’

The examinations are designed to assess the performance of at least 80 per cent of all students in the twelfth grade and are coined as an ‘exit examination’ as the students prepare to venture off into the real world.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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