The education system is elitist
Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom
The education system is elitist. It is based on identifying the best. What an extremely high failure rate means is that the best students get the better education while the poor students are resigned to enjoy a sub-standard education.
Ideally, a situation should exist where all the secondary schools are performing at the same level. This would mean that there would be no need to write an examination to decide to which school a student should be assigned.
Ideally, all the schools would be considered top schools and students would be able to enjoy a good education, regardless of where they live.
Unfortunately, the education system is not like this. It has never been like this. And it seems that despite parents complaining about how many students failed, they do not wish the system to change. They want an elitist system in which more than 15,000 students compete for a few hundred places in five of the top schools in Georgetown and one or two tops schools in Berbice and Essequibo.
They want their children to get a chance to go to the top schools even if it is at the price of the failure of masses of children. It is crab-barrel process,
This is the system that was inherited from the British. It is a system geared for capitalism. It based on the notion that the best should rule; the best should have the best education; best should get the best jobs. The education system at the primary level is thus geared to weeding out the weak, or as is now the case, to relegate them to a sub-standard education in some obscure school.
One regional official has called for the abolition of the NGSA. But what is it going to be replaced by? We can end up in a situation in which instead of at least producing some good students, we end up with an education system that does not produce any good students at all.
In other words, the present system may be flawed but unless there is something better to replace it, then it should not be tinkered with.
And who is going to change the system? The products of an elitist educational system are not going to overturn it. This will contradict everything they stand for, including the philosophy of the survival of the fittest.
Burnham decided a long time ago, that weeding out the weak and strengthening the strong was the law of survival, both in politics and in education. He was the one who developed a school of excellence, called President’s College which cost a poor nation a fortune just to turn out each year a few hundred super-performers.
For the other students who had to settle for lesser schools, there was little hope. The law of the jungle was meant to devour them.
Changing the NGSA requires a new thinking about the way society is run. And, quite honestly, this is not the era for that sort of thinking.
People love the law of the jungle. They want an elitist education because their values, despite all the years of socialist indoctrination, are still bourgeois.