Although they were accepted by the Guyana Society for the Blind with little to no academic backgrounds, the blind and visually impaired candidates who participated in the 2018 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate [CSEC] examination were able to secure a 100 percent pass rate.
“They wrote 16 subjects in total and they passed all with grades two and three,” said coordinator of the programme Ganesh Singh.
The candidate with the most outstanding performance this year is 23-year-old Ms. Schemona Sugrim of Fyrish, Corentyne, who gained five grade two passes. She secured passes in English A, Principles of Business, Office Administration, Social Studies and Human and Social Biology.
“I feel excited and overwhelmed,” said a smiling Sugrim yesterday.
Also recording outstanding performances this year are 44-year-old Dawn Benjamin of Sandvoort Village, West Canje, Berbice, who secured four grade two passes; 17-year-old Shundy Thomas of Rose Hall Town, Corentyne, Berbice, who secured three grade twos and two grade three passes and 53-year-old Hazel Morris with one grade two and one grade three.
Three of these four candidates [Sugrim, Benjamin and Thomas] who were present at the High Street, Georgetown Blind Society for an award, shared their desire to furthering their studies and teaching children with special needs.
The award ceremony was sponsored by Ms Genevieve McDonald, the proprietor of Heaven’s Care Day Care facility located at 68 Sixth Street, Alberttown, Georgetown.
McDonald has for the past few years been lending support to the Blind Society to honour the CSEC candidates.
Following the short ceremony, Thomas, one of the awardees, was eager to share a word of advice with other youths with disabilities said, “to persons with disabilities it is not the end because there is always hope. Behind every dark cloud there is silver lining and we are proof of that.”
Regarding the performance of the blind candidates as remarkable, Singh said, “…it might not sound like a lot of subjects, because one person might write 16 subjects in the regular school system, but these persons came from a background where they had no school experience and so to achieve this is remarkable.”
For this reason, he said, “I am very much satisfied and actually excited, and at the same time somewhat surprised, because we did not expect that the students would have done so well.”
While four blind candidates were entered for CSEC this year, Singh revealed that the entire contingent entered by the Society amounted to seven. He disclosed that in addition to the four blind candidates, an additional three with other forms of disabilities [physical and learning] wrote the examination.
According to Singh, sustaining the programme over the years could not have been possible without the support of the Board of the Blind Society, the Ministry of Education, as well as other members of the public and private sector, including the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph company, who have given support in various forms.