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Jun 13, 2013

Everybody’s responsible for poor P.S.E. results

Seven thousand five hundred and thirty-three students sat the exams, a five percent increase over last year. The top twenty six students have been highlighted for their achievement. But the exam which tests proficiency in English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science has not produced the desired results over the past decade. Scores in both English and Math have been poor. The mechanism for reviewing the results may also not be the best. But what do we do with a system that has no intention of quitting?  Well the Minister of Education and the Chief Education Officer  spoke to a gathering at the ITVET and said that though there are corrective measures to improve the education of our country’s youths, it will take more than just the classroom efforts of teacher and student, it’s going to take the entire community. Jose Sanchez Reports.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The dismal performance in English and Math for the 2013 P.S.E. has prompted the Ministry of Education to host a press conference to discuss the results. The Ministry of Education Patrick Faber had a few choice words for the Belize National Teachers Union.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“The role of the teachers union. You know it’s absolutely amazing—and I’ll go out on a limb that teachers are saying we want a salary adjustment of thirty percent when the government is saying we can’t afford it. And then we have the same old results. And there is no denying that teachers have a tremendous effect on what these results are. And correct me if I am wrong, I don’t hear the union’s talking about how we can improve professionalization in the teaching service at all. We have a union in this country—and I wah get into trouble again for it—that fights for teachers who are incompetent, some of them who are molesters, some of them who don’t do their jobs in the classroom and the union officials know it. But we fight for them. They are not functioning, they are not doing the best job, but the minute the principal or management or ministry who tries to bring them up, there is a champion called the union who fights against.”


But prior to those fiery words, a five year overview of the PSE was delivered by Chief Education Officer, Christopher Aird. English was the first subject he presented. Three thousand eight hundred and thirteen students were in the D and E ranges.


Christopher Aird, Chief Education Officer

“It rose to fifty-three percent in 2012 and dropped a little bit back to forty-seven percent. The overall conclusion in English performance would be that it seems to be unstable and it does indicate that there are issues to be addressed there. And that said, with half of the students scoring Cs and better, this means that half the students are also scoring less than C which is a matter of concern.”


What is of concern is that a D score (fifty to fifty-nine percent) is labeled by the exam as adequate which is defined as being acceptable. The term is disingenuous because a student who lacks competence in fifty percent of the exam, is considered to have performed adequately. To be considered inadequate, a student must perform extremely poorly, in forties as has been pointed out by three thousand three hundred students who received E and an additional one thousand one hundred and thirty-seven were in the fifty to fifty-nine percent range for math.


Christopher Aird

Christopher Aird

“Most students continued to score in the E grade range and this is a cause for concern, it is very likely a matter of perhaps competence in the delivery of math and that is also an area that should be targeted and will be targeted and we are targeting. Apart from 2009 and 11 where the median scores were forty-six and forty-seven, respectively, the media score has ranged from fifty-one to fifty-three and you can also see that there has been a growth from 2009 to 2013 in the median score. Apart from 2009, we are also nine times as many students scored Es as those who scored. As in 2009. In the years 2010, 2012 and 2013, that ratio decreased to around three times more scoring Es than As which indicates that efforts are being made.”


There is a strategic plan that is being implemented and the minister says it includes support and pressure.


Patrick Faber

“Inspections and evaluations are never a popular word. And so we implore our principals and school communities as well to take it as constructive criticism and I’m sure that Doctor Danderson and her team do it with the most professional outlook that they possibly can…all in an effort to make sure schools improve. The managers may need training and we may need to start insisting on a set of criteria pr qualifications that they may need to have to manage our schools. And that is a discussion that I take it our managing authorities are willing to have. there has to be a role for parents…and I can tell you that this is terribly lacking; it is no secret. So that when the grades for the P.S.E. come out and we see no significant movement, we must ask ourselves what have the parents been up to?…Terribly missing. You ask any principal who call a PTA meeting and they will tell you parents don’t show up. These grades will not improve whatever the ministry does on its own. If we don’t have parents involved, not increasing their role or their involvement; if we have management staying in their own; if we have a union who just fights for raise of pay and doesn’t fight for professionalizing the system, it is not going to happen. And so I ask your support.”


Faber said that schools should only hire teachers who are trained, and school managements should teachers to get their licenses. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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7 Responses for “Everybody’s responsible for poor P.S.E. results”

  1. Rod says:

    The blame lies with this incompetent gov that does nothing for the teachers they do not put any money to better the schools for equipment or anything else all they do is pocket the money themselves they are a disgrace now we have a pm who says they don’t give a damm about babies dying by the droves he says who cares they have no apologies what kind of pm is this makes me want to vomit all over him.

  2. kimmy says:

    not everyone, there responsible for thier own, thier own child/children to make sure they study at home and get thier assignments done, as far as the teacher they teacher and help if the student ask for help, it’s the teacher reaponsiblity to teach and help the kids learn but if the student don’t have any intrest, don’t blame everyone. my niece got 90.7 n very proud of her n her parents they made sure she studied and no play.

  3. hmmm says:

    Rod: If you are not a of the educational field i would suggest that you keep your comments to yourself to avoid looking like a fool. Teachers are being trained yearly and new ones going into the field, the government is responsible for this, this government is doing a lot more for the teachers and students of this country in the last 5yrs than the PUP did in their 10yrs. An example is the TSC, improvements in classrooms, amalgamation of schools, the process of removing multi-grade classrooms and list can go on and on. people like you would like it for the teachers with no training be paid for they haven’t earned.

  4. Pissed Off says:

    I think it works just like this, if you teach where you come from originally you cannot do your job to the best of your ability. The postings of the teachers in their own village or town is, in my view wrong. They have many schools that have teachers that are from the same or town. You need to send them to another location so that they can do what needs to be done. To do their work without fear or favor.

  5. Suzy Moore says:

    MOE personnel also need to do their part as well. When last have they visited the primary schools, made some assessments and recommendations? You can’t run a business unless you are a part of it

  6. ezow says:

    Stop blaming teachers; the fault lies in the system, which is implementing these new standard for a child friendly school. How on earth can you expect teachers to execute a lesson with a class filled with students who don’t even want to study. These students can disrespect and do whatever they want and teachers can’t discipline them since the system protects them and maintains them in school regardless of anything. The curriculum is also irrelevant to the levels in Belize since it simply saturates students with information with no qualitative and significant learning. Patrick needs to stop talking foolishness and get his @$$ to work!

  7. Sharee says:

    Although there has been Government cut backs (thanks to having to pay for Superbond) I believe as much blame falls on parents as the schools. Many parents are no more then children themselves. They have few parenting skills and many are under educated. It is not right or fair to expect teachers to carry the whole obligation of educating our children. A certain percentage of this must start at home. Children are in school for 6 hours a day, parents have them the other 18. Belizeans need to stop blaming the Government and start looking within. How can each of us make Belize the jewel it is meant to be

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