While educators may have to keep focusing on improving the student’s performance in all aspects of the Primary School Examinations, there may be some reason for concern in the theme used by a few who pen their thoughts on paper for the narrative section of the English paper. Some pieces, according to the Principal Education Officer for the Examinations Unit, Yvonne Davis have been on violent themes. Each year the Ministry of Education publishes the narratives that are written by the top performers in the Primary School Examinations. The stories are compiled into a small story book since 2007 and are normally distributed at the national ceremony to the awardees and each school. However, when students write around violent themes, Davis says they are unable to produce the stories even though they may be well written articles.

Yvonne Davis – Principal Education Officer, Examinations Unit
“They have produced stories around some of the themes, the social ills that are occurring on the radio everyday in particular the issue of murder. Some of the narratives, and there is one in particular that I can remember that we are not able to publish because of the nature of that theme. This child wrote about a bully at school and going after this bully and getting help to kill this person. It was an excellent script really, it was excellently written however the theme, because of the nature of the theme we wouldn’t necessarily publish that as a script coming out of the system; which in fact it is. To me that is an indication to us in Education, in the Ministry, in the whole school system and the public at large that what is happening out there, our children see it, they hear it, they feel it, they experience it and when they get the chance to write, they write about these things so we have to pay attention.”

Other themes that have been brought out in previous years surround a sexual nature. Some writings have also been reflecting the usage of the text language. Stories highlighting violent themes have also emerged across the board; however, Davis says that it is not a large percentage of the students.

Yvonne Davis – Principal Education Officer, Examinations Unit
“There is no evidence at this point that it is concentrated only in the Belize City area, these papers come from across the country. Like I said some of these are some of their own experience in terms of a bully at school you know someone come and bully you. In the past when we were going to school we run, we hide but nowadays they think different. They think, okay you bully me I can’t do it on my own so I go and get help. It is that kind of thing we see going on in the scripts. The few that we have seen, we have seen that kind of theme coming out so it is interesting to see how they deal with some of the same issues we had when we were in school.”

Davis adds that in certain instances, the Ministry calls the schools to follow up on the student who produced the narrative to ensure their safety.