The NGSA Should No Longer Be A Life Defining Exam, Life-long Learning Is Key…

The NGSA Should No Longer Be A Life Defining Exam, Life-long Learning Is Key…

by Karen Abrams
Co-Founder, STEMGuyana

Congratulations to the top performers on the NGSA, we at STEMGuyana understand the hard work and sacrifice it took to get you to achieve at such a high level.  Achieving at such a high level at the NGSA and CXC exams also takes something else, access to quality learning resources and the right supportive environment; parents, teachers, books, lessons, money.  This is the piece of support that often eludes children who attend under-resourced schools, students who live in abusive environments or with parents who have no way to access the funds to make these resources a reality for their children and this happens all around the world.  In most countries, and like Guyana, there is no equal access to a quality education for all.

In Guyana, more than 40% of children do not pass the numeracy assessment in the 2nd grade, by the 6th grade more than 60% fail, the problem only gets worse.  The children who thrive have excellent support and historically,  it is these children who then went on to reap the best academic and job related opportunities in Guyana, but no longer does it have to be so.

For those children and parents who did not make it into the ‘top schools’, please know that learning is a life-long journey and today more than any other time in the history of the world, because of access to technology, all children now have an opportunity to learn continuously outside of the education system, children now have access to high quality and free educational resources which can help to strengthen their academic skills and even provide access to learning unavailable in the Guyanese academic context.

The Ministry Of Public Telecommunications in Guyana has made internet access available to more than 100 community hub sites in Guyana, I implore parents to encourage their children to use their local hub sites, access is free.  We encourage the participation in after-school youth programs like Literacy and Numeracy programs sponsored by the Office Of The First Lady, Youth Volunteer Corp, STEMGuyana’s after-school STEM clubs, Department of Youth’s programs, or the many free academic programs sponsored by various civil society groups in your various communities.  The next challenge is to ensure that curricula designed to strengthen fundamental literacy, numeracy and STEM education are available at all academic levels in these after-school programs, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Additionally we must do away with the strong culture of shame for seeking academic support for literacy, numeracy and academic enrichment, which is prevalent in many corners of our society.

Today more than any other time in history, it is not only the educationally swift who will win in the end, there is also room for those who are determined to learn, who are honest about the help they need, who invest time in life-long learning, who seek help, who venture outside of the norms and who commit to life-long self improvement.

For more information about STEMGuyana’s after-school clubs, email stemguyana@gmail.com.