Over 7 thousand students sat the PSE this year. Sadly thousands of them got D's and E's - a failing grade which the students have to carry, but which is really an indictment of a failed education system.
But...that's a whole other story...tonight, the story is about the 25 who excelled, brilliant boys and girls whose performance proved them to be stellar students.
In honor of these top achievers the Ministry of Education held a special award ceremony at the Princess Ramada hotel. Emanuel Pech reports.
All those primary schoolers who excelled at the PSE examination this year were honoured at a special award ceremony at the Princess Ramada Hotel this morning.
These were the top 25 performers who met and surpassed expectations.
But among these great scholars are the best. This year Angelina Urbina, from La Inmaculada Government School in Orange Walk and Kenly Young from, St. Andrews Anglican School in San Ignacio tied for first place with a score of 391 of 400 points. Both gave their remarks at the ceremony today.
Angelina Urbina- PSE Top Performer "For some of us, the PSE made us feel as though we were being attacked by sharks. I don't quite remember the morning for the first half that I sat the PSE. In all honestly I was too consumed by nervousness that I found it difficult to remember whether or not I'd even spelt my school's name properly. Initially, I went on question after question and doubting every answer I has decided on, but as time went on my nerves finally calmed down and I then realized that I had nothing to worry about. I was well prepared for this."
Kenly Young- PSE Top Performer "My advice to all primary schoolers is to never give up, believe in yourself, work hard and you can achieve all set goals. Also to always remember the end of primary school is not the end of the story, it is just the end of the chapter."
Now students were not the only ones getting awards today. Schools also received recognition for the amount of passes they got on the PSE. There were four categories for this award. In the first category the Belize Elementary School came on top. In the second category the first place prize went to St. Andrews Anglican School, who was also the only government school to get 5 students, including one of the best performers, on the top 25 list.
Sharee Gutierrez- Principal St. Andrew's Anglican "From the 5 of them, 4 of them have started at our school since infant 1 and so we know it's from infant 1 we ensure that they learn to read, we build on it in infant 2 and so forth until they got to standard 6. It's gratifying to know that 8 years of hard work has been cashed in."
Now with the euphoria of the PSE results behind us, it's back to the drawing board for the Ministry of Education. That's because, despite these exceptional achievers, the PSE results show little improvement when compared to last year. In fact, when it comes to Math and Problem Solving, more than half of the students who sat the exam received a failing grade.
Emanuel Pech "Who should take responsibility? I mean, for the remarkable amount of students that failed this year, is it the teachers fault? The teachers actually got a raise this year, who's fault is it?"
Hon. Elodio Aragon- Minister of Education "I think that it's not about pointing fingers, it's about looking at where we are and where we need to go. I am sure that the people in the Ministry of education who are responsible for policy direction, to work with the teachers, etc. These are the things that they have to ask themselves and it's not only for the Ministry of Education to ask themselves that, it's also for the schools, teachers and parents to ask themselves about these things. Even students have to ask themselves why did they not do better. I think that at the end of the day it's about us looking at where we are, what we need to do and move on with that to improve upon us having more passes in PSE."
David Leacock- CEO Ministry of Education "At this time we have, in the primary school system, 129 primary schools who will benefit over the next 4 years on training on the teaching of English, Math and Science. Right now we have 25 schools that have started. This coming year we will add another 50 or 60 and then another 50 or 60 the following year. By the time we are through we will have covered 129 schools using more active methods to help children learn English, Math and Science. We expect that those will lead to better performance for all our students."