MP Lewis calls for closer attention to be given to public schools so they, too, can excel at CSEC level

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Source- Real News Antigua: Although there were four top performers in the three top spots of the 2023 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (CSEC), MP Richard Lewis is convinced that more students can perform well given the requisite resources.

All four students were from private secondary schools – the St. Joseph’s Academy and the Baptist Academy.

Accordingly, Lewis is reflecting on the many challenges plaguing the education system, particularly the public schools: from severe overcrowding to low proficiency in Math and English.

He laments that, currently, approximately eight out of every 10 students do not qualify for direct university matriculation, and he says it is time for meaningful solutions.

Lewis is suggesting that the Ministry of Education engage the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and initiate a regional conversation on the way forward, especially with regard to the perennial problem with mathematics.

According to Lewis, there is also an urgent need to institute remedial programmes in maths and English and to institute an ongoing “mathematics boot camp,” with intensified focus at the Fourth and Fifth Form levels.

He notes, as well, that reducing overcrowding across the school system will enhance learning outcomes and reduce conflicts.

It is time to stop paying mere lip service to this critical need, the MP says.

Lewis points to one school in particular, the Ottos Comprehensive School, which celebrates its 50 th  anniversary this year.

He believes that this school has been wantonly neglected, with the long-promised expansion remaining undelivered year after year.

“To add insult to injury,” he says the Gaston Browne Administration has budgeted for design fees, but not for any construction, and the evidence can be found on page 256 of the 2024 Budget Estimates.

The MP is also calling for the reintroduction of an old discipline called “civics” to teach – among other things – the rights and obligations of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.

Meanwhile, Lewis says he is looking forward to the promises reiterated at the second UWI Five Islands Expansion consultation that was held in late 2023:

A preschool is to be constructed in the Rural West constituency; tbe primary school is to be relocated; and a new secondary school is to be built – along with the expansion of UWI.

Taking into account the consistent claims that the Nation values and respects its teachers, Lewis is calling on the Browne Administration to pay those who were sent home for refusing the COVID-19 vaccines.

They are owed their salaries for September and October 2021.

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