The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) programme will now be offered at the West Demerara Secondary School in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), following a ceremonial launch by the Ministry of Education, on Wednesday.

Speaking during the launch of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)’s programme, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, said that it was important for this programme to be taken closer to students in the region who are desirous of pursuing the 20211209 1

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, had put a lot of strain on some families as it relates to transportation and other associated costs.

Already, some 12 students are registered to pursue CAPE at the West Demerara Secondary School.

Minister Manickchand told the students that they have made a bold step. But she said that support from the government and the Ministry of Education will not end there, as scholarships will be available through the government’s 20,000 Scholarships 20211209 4

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 will offer support where necessary.

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 — Saraswat Primary School — with over 300 20211209 2

Over the next four years, the Ministry will be working to achieve Universal Secondary Education. 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 added that the need for those schools is to accommodate the growing population within the two 20211209 3

She said, too, that a centre for the Cyril Potter College of Education will soon be completed in the region 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 nearing 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 20211209 6

Meanwhile, the headteacher of the West Demerara Secondary School, Harrinarine, said 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 20211209 5

Harrinarine said that the school has teachers for all of the subjects and with the assistance the Education Ministry will be offering, the capacity will be there to offer additional subjects in the future.

He added that his school has been consistent with its performance at the level of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), achieving a 93 per cent matriculation rate in 2020, with 18 students passing with eight grade ones or more for 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.