Three St Martin School students have emerged among the top five performers in the 2012 Grade 6 National Assessment exams.
The five identified by the Ministry of Education are Selena Pacquette of St Martin’s, Kerene Williams also of St Martin’s, Omondi McIntyre of Pioneer Prep, Kelma Rolle of St Martin’s, and Ke-Sean Peter of St John’s.
The government says it is awarding 95 scholarships this year and 126 bursaries.
Education Minister Peter St Jean told reporters at a news conference that the performance of the students who wrote the exams this year “has been to a very great extent satisfactory, given that in most subject areas students were able to score just about 60 per cent”.
Education officials say the official assessment has shown that in most of the subject areas the girls are outperforming the boys.
“The girls did better – too many boys are at the bottom end,” Senior Education Officer Nicholas Goldberg explained.
He cited a number of examples to back the findings, including that in the areas of Maths 11 per cent of the girls got A’s while only 4 per cent of the boys did.
It was a matter also addressed by the Education Minister.
“The biggest concern for me is the fact that we continue to see a low level of performance among a small segment of the boys – just about 10 per cent of our boys still obtain grades that are below average,” Minister St Jean said, describing it as a serious concern for his ministry.
He said the situation in which the females are outclassing their male counterparts appears to have something to do with their performance in reading.
The perception is that the girls seem to be making reading much more of a priority than the boys.
“Parents must encourage students to read from the earliest levels – work with the children if they are to achieve success,” the minister advised.
He also made reference to what he labeled a small group of teachers and other education officials who are not giving of their best, warning them that necessary action would be taken.
St Jean called on “the few teachers we have in the system, the few education officers who we have in the system who are not bothered about ensuring that they produce, that they give of their best” to buck up or face the consequences.
“That in this coming year we will put measures in place to ensure that we rid the system of people who are just relaxed and believe that at the end of the day you get a pay, not having done the work,” the education minister warned.