The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand today launched the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) programme that will be offered at the West Demerara Secondary School in Region Three.
The Education Minister said during her remarks that it is important that this programme was brought closer to students in the region who are desirous of pursuing the programme. She said that previously, the only alternative to pursue CAPE was for students to travel the long distance to attend one of the schools in Georgetown currently offering CAPE. This she said puts a lot of strain on some families as it relates to transportation and other associated costs.
Twelve students have registered to pursue CAPE at the West Demerara Secondary School. Minister Manickchand told the students today that they have made a bold step. However, she said that the support of the Government and the Ministry of Education will not end there but that scholarships will be available through the Government’s 20,000 Scholarships Programme so that they can pursue higher academic programmes.
She urged the students to perform with excellence and vindicate the decision to have CAPE offered at the school. She said that the Ministry will be following their progress and offer the necessary support.
Further, the Education Minister spoke about the education sector relative to Region Three. She said that the region currently has 14 secondary schools but noted that there is still a need for one more. According to Minister Manickchand, though the region has managed to close many of the Primary Tops, there is still one Primary Top at Saraswat Primary School with over 300 students.
She said that before the next 4 years are the Ministry of Education is working to achieve Universal Secondary Education in the country. This would mean that students will no longer have to be placed in Primary Tops but all secondary-aged children will have access to a secondary school wherever they are located.
She said that the region also needs a Primary School in Tuschen and Parfaite Harmonie. She explained that the need for these schools is to accommodate the growing population within the two communities.
Moreover, she said that the Centre for the Cyril Potter College of Education will soon be completed and will accommodate 120 students thereby making teacher training more accessible. This she said is being done while two teachers’ quarters are being built at Leguan and Wakenaam.
The Education Minister added that the Leonora Secondary School Dorm is also near completion. She said that the facility will house 65 students and will cater to those students who live along the Demerara and Essequibo rivers who can attend school in the Region.
Meanwhile, the Headteacher of the West Demerara Secondary School, Mr. Harrinarine said that today that his school is elated that the CAPE programme will be offered there. He said that this has been in the school’s improvement plan for quite some time and is finally being realised.
He said that initially, the school will offer an Associate Degree in Arts and an Associate Degree in Business. He reported that the initial 10 subjects that will be offered are Biology, Chemistry, Pure Mathematics, Integrated Mathematics, Management of Business, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Communication Studies, Literatures in English and Environmental Studies.
Mr. Harrinarine said that the school has teachers for all of the subjects and with the assistance of Central Ministry will be offering additional subjects in the future. He said that his school has been consistent with its performance at the level of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), with the school achieving a 93% matriculation rate in 2020 with 18 students passing with 8 grade ones or more, the first time in the school’s history.
He said that the school was established in 1965 and will continue to strive to produce well-rounded students.