Saint Lucia Seeks To Change ‘Hierarchy Of Secondary Schools’ Perception

by Janelle Norville (GIS)

With the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) soon to be implemented, the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development is seeking to change the public’s perception of the perceived hierarchy of secondary schools on the island.

Ministry of Education’s Deputy Chief Education Officer with responsibility for Instruction, Dawson Ragunanan, indicated that all schools are equipped with the necessities to ensure student success.

“I want to ensure that persons understand that all of our schools have teachers who are well trained, qualified and committed to student success. There is equity across the board in terms of the qualifications of those teachers throughout all of our schools. I want to commend the students who have succeeded to secondary schools in Saint Lucia. Regardless of what school you have been assigned to, I want you to know that it is not the school that defines you, it is all about your dedication and discipline. If you can do those things, you will be successful.”

Mr. Ragunanan said graduates from every school on island contribute to the development of Saint Lucia. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more apparent that everyone—regardless of job or education—has a role to play in society.

“There are many persons who are doing very well in society, and if you take a look at the roots of those persons, you would see that all of our schools have contributed to the tremendous success that we have, in every field of study and career path,” he said. “Every occupation is important. We all depend on each other.”

Students throughout the island will soon begin a new chapter in their education journey. The Ministry of Education is encouraging all students to give of their best, to reap the inevitable success that will follow.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Teachers are well trained and qualified but as far as committed, it does not apply to the teachers from VFort. Most of them are just not committed.

  2. nonsense mr Dawson Ragunanan. you know very well that the environment of the school as well as other factors causes there to have hierarchies of schools on the island. why is it that some of those with the money don’t want their children to go to certain schools. so please dont try to fool people with your explanation. it’s far from reality

    • You’re so correct. Mr. Ragunanan has no base in the education system. He is a Johnie -come-lately who now occupies a position in the education hierarchy because Saint Lucia no longer has professionals of merit. Maybe Mr. Ragunanan can explain the likes of Gros-Islet Secondary, Bocage Secondary, Sir Ira Secondary, Marigot Secondary, Vide-Bouteille Secondary, and the others which accept students with a score of 17. The hierarchy of Secondary Schools can never be eradicated unless we address the problems associated with Pre-School Education, Infant and Primary School education and making teachers, principals and parents accountable for student performance in the education system.

      • Sir ira Simmons is not included in that list. Our cut off is about 55 % . The only 17 % you will find are those gros islet transfers from last school year who are wreaking havoc at the school because they are to illiterate to focus and move at the same pace as a typical sir ira student .

      • Sir Ira is obviously above the other schools mentioned. Am sure these students can’t settle because the teachers are stressed out enough and these students are frustrated because like you said they can’t move at the other students pace. So they lash out. The system are failing them because they will still be pushed out at the end of form five without much improvement

      • It may sound crude but it’s true. My son is frustrated by these students who cant seen to settle. Am just assuming that was their score due to the fights and stuff my son mentions they get in regularly . The teachers are trying but am sure it’s an extra task on them.

      • My son is frustrated with these student who fight and lash out because they simply cannot follow. My comment may sound blunt to some but it is true. Teachers at the school are forced to work extra hard with these students who take away from those who want to actually learn.

  3. Each school has it unique identity and environment it will takes a long time to change the public perspective of the ranking of secondary schools

  4. some lucians have not so bright kids. so what? offcourse there must be a hierarchy. many kids on the island have undiagnosed learning difficulties. teachers meet them every day in the classroom and often are unable to diagnose the spectrum of problems these kids have because the school system we have is blind to that sort of thing and we think that all kids learn the same. thats not the case. the education system must come up with a way of introducing practical skills and apprenticeship to supplement the system. we all have a role to play in society, not everyone can be doctor, lawyer ect.. we need bakers, plumbers, cleaners too.

    • Taffy it was so refreshing reading your contribution that i did not want it to end.You have a very inclusive approach to education that is excellent. However, you still have some of the old-school philosophy of education in your possession. You sounded like my grandmother, she died more than 25 years ago at the age of 96. Like you, she believed that those who can;t use their heads must use their hands. Fact is, all children can use their heads. practical skills and apprenticeship (TVET) must not be supplementary education it must be the real education. And, to do that, all children must do English and Mathematics. The problem with education today, is how do we get all children to do well in English and Mathematics while we prepare them for the future.(TVET)

  5. Mr. Ragunanan please stop saying nonsense you know better than what you said. There will always be hierarchies of Secondary schools as you may very well know that the school is not the building but the students. There are numerous factors which contributes to this hierarchy of Secondary schools and much of them we have no control over, the brightest, smartest and the fastest will always be at the top. Some students are very slow, some settle at a late age, some are very unfortunate and not able to get the help that the need. Mr Ragunanan as an educationist, please say the truth, just remember that we don’t live in an ideal environment

  6. A great start, Mr Ragunanan! This is an uplifting read. Previous commenters have been very fatalistic, but change must start somewhere, and It’s long overdue that the outdated, elitist common entrance and the hierarchy of schools is abolished. The island is too small to concentrate national resources on just a few (often already privileged) kids. Create zoning so that all children are ensured of a good education where they live, and introduce curriculums that serve the future not the colonial past! All children have something to offer if the system will support them to do so. Good riddance to common entrance and the stratification of children at such an early age 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  7. Mr. Ragunanan lest you pretend that you do not know let me inform you that the hierarchy is created by the MOE. The students who score the highest at the CE are sent to certain schools and those schools get all the resources they need. Mr RagunNan would you send your children to Marigot Secondary, Bocage, GrosIslet or even Corinth Secondary. I am sure not.

  8. The children make the school,and we have created the sistem were we get all the best and put them together in one school,The teachers can fly high when they have all the smart ones in one school.And the rest just get,separated in the same way.At the end of the line you get all those children that have no intention of ever picking up a book,and for those children we should have a deffrent kind of school,a vocational school,wich we still dont have,No matter how much you try they aint going anywere with Grammar and maths,

  9. People are constantly saying children who are slow learners or who have academic difficulties ahould be channelled towards vocational subjects. Please note that vocational subjects require a certain level of literacy, numeracy and critical thinking. You want a carpenter who can’t measure or add?
    We need to do a better job of diagnosing and addressing learning difficulties at an earlier age. In addition, while the teachers at the schools may have the same qualifications, they are not at the same level of quality. We need to focus on teacher quality and weed out the teachers who are not much better than the students they teach. Poor teacher quality is a major issue affecting our education system.
    Lastly, education is not valued as it was in the past. People have caught on to the fact that in this country, it’s not how qualified you are or how much you’ve accomplished that will help you to advance, it’s whether or not your party is in power, whose butt you can kiss and who likes you. The Ministry of Education itself is a culprit in this. When a society operates in that manner, education loses its relevance.

  10. As an educator I will be the first to say that is bull. That situation was created by the ministry of education in the late 80’s when Junior Secondary schools were transformed to full fledged secondary schools. We can talk about we have to start somewhere but the starting point will always be where we are. For those who don’t know there are 6 Elite schools in St Lucia that has to be a first or second choice only. I want to see the day when a student with 10 will enter the doors of SJC or SMC, even worse when the top performer with 98 will enter the doors of Stanley John Odlum or Piaye secondary.

  11. I have read each and every comment here. However if a child is not given a strong foundation from the start . certain circumstances in life may hinder a child in having a strong and good foundation. Secondly I have to say that not all teachers are committed and dedicated in teaching. Some of them do not have a passion for the profession. Some have no compassion and show alot of prejudice towards certain kids. I believe some teachers need to go and have a psychological evaluation because they go through burnout and come to the classroom with their issues. Also parents need to do their part in encouraging their kids no matter what you can succeed. We as a nation need to get away from this status BS. Which is what reigns on this island.

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