Guyanese students top Caribbean at CSEC, CAPE

Guyana has secured the top spots in the Caribbean at the May-June 2020 sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), which are both administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
This announcement was made on Wednesday by Education Minister Priya Manickchand during a press conference to release the final examination results. The top regional performer for CSEC is Queen’s College’s Bhedesh Persaud, who secured 22 Grade Ones and one Grade Two.

Zane Ramotar (L) and Bhedesh Persaud have copped the 2020 top Regional CAPE and CSEC spots respectively

Persaud’s schoolmate, Zane Ramotar emerged as the region’s top CAPE performer with 14 Grade Ones and one Grade Two passes. Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Huston revealed that although there were marginal declines in the pass rates for some subject areas, Guyana recorded an overall improved pass rate at the 2020 examinations.

Education Minister
Priya Manickchand

Dr Huston said, “Generally, Guyana would have done extremely well in terms of how our students have performed. And it is against that backdrop, we cannot help but commend those teachers who fought vigorously even in the midst of all the issues. This could not have been possible without the help of all those stakeholders… We could not have done this without a solid team…”

According to Dr Hutson, 853 candidates sat the 2020 CAPE for which a 93.16 per cent general pass rate was recorded as compared to 93 per cent in 2019. The gender breakdown of the overall CAPE pass rate was 36 per cent males and 64 per cent females. The results for CAPE are reported on a seven-point scale – Grades 1-VII.
Candidates attaining Grades 1 – V have attained an acceptable standard for matriculation purposes, with Grade One representing an excellent performance, while Grades Two and Three represent very good and good standards of performance respectively.
For CAPE, students were offered units in 35 subject areas, and this year, there was an increase in the number of candidates obtaining Grades One and Two passes.

Chief Education Officer
Dr Marcel Hutson

Rounding off the top three performers for CAPE are St Rose’s Naomi Cambridge with 12 Grade Ones, two Grade Twos, and one Grade Three, and Christian Pile from QC who attained 11 Grades Ones, one Grade Two, and one Grade Three.
For CSEC, apart from Ramotar, the other top performers are Sherlock Langevine Jr and Donelle Pyle from St Stanislaus College. Langevine secured 11 Grade Ones and eight Grade Twos, while Pyle secured nine Grade Ones, three Grade Twos, and two Grade Threes.
The Bishops’ High School’s Nicolas Ally gained 11 Grade Ones and one Grade Two; Zharal Hollingsworth, 10 Grade Ones and one Grade Two; Carl Gilford 10 Grade Ones and one Grade Three and Stefan Hamilton seven Grade Ones, three Grade Twos, two Grade Threes and one Grade Four. QC student Radesa Hack attained 11 Grade Ones, one Grade Two, one Grade Three, and three Grade Fours.

A total of 12,009 students wrote the CSEC 2020 examinations as compared to 11,467 in 2019. The overall pass rate (Grades One to Three) was 75.9 per cent as compared to 73 per cent the previous year. Even though he described this as a marginal increase, Dr Hutson noted that it was still commendable.
“…Because in the midst of COVID and all the drama and issues that were working against our students, we still see they were able to show that kind of improvement even though marginal. And I think that is commendable. These children had to fight so many battles,” the Chief Education Officer said.
The pass rate in English A remained constant at 77.91 per cent in 2020 as against 77 per cent in 2019. Students’ performance in English B improved significantly from 58.1 per cent in 2019 to 78.03 per cent in 2020. A noted improvement was also recorded in Mathematics with a pass rate of 48.66 per cent in 2020 as compared to 43 per cent in 2019.

The Top 10 CSEC students:
Bhedesh Persaud of QC – 22 Grade Ones and one Grade Two; Duvina Seurattan of Anna Regina Secondary School – 19 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos; Swasti Saytoo of Anna Regina Secondary – 18 Grade Ones and three Grade Twos; Geveshwar Rajkishore of Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 18 Grade Ones and one Grade Two; Reyah Khemraj of JC Chandisingh Secondary – 17 Grade Ones and three Grade Twos; Shivnarine Chaitram of Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 17 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos; Atishta Seenarine of Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 17 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos; Chaitra Singh – of Saraswati Vidya Nikitan secured 16 Grade Ones and three Grade Twos and Tabitha Alves of Abrams Zuil Secondary School – 16 Grade Ones and four Grade Twos.

Top awards
Guyana has secured more of the top awards that will be given out by CXC to the Region’s top performers for CSEC and CAPE. According to Manickchand, Guyana received two of the seven awards at the CAPE level. Ramotar copped the award for CAPE’s overall best performing student and the best performing student for natural sciences.
Guyana also bagged four of the five top awards for CSEC regionally. Guyana’s Persaud has won awards for the overall top student and best performing science student. A student from the New Amsterdam Secondary School won the award for the most outstanding candidate in technical and vocational studies, while a student of St Rose’s High scooped the top business student award.

Promising future
In congratulating the students for their outstanding performance, Manickchand noted that the examinations were written at a time of extreme difficulty for not only them but their families and the rest of the world. She said that for them to have written the examinations and done this well showed that they had a good foundation and support.
Against this backdrop, she told them that they had a very promising future and gave Government’s commitment to work with them in realising their dreams.
“We will work very hard in the Government and in the Ministry of Education to ensure that you don’t – for want of financial resources or guidance… that you are [not] forced to not pursue any of your dreams or passion. We will make ways available and give you opportunities so that you can pursue all your dreams and passion. Because we know that when you get qualified and come back here, all of Guyana will benefit…”
The release of the final May-June 2020 examination results was delayed by CXC after the examination body initiated a Region-wide review of preliminary results that were released in September 2020. The review was started after students in several countries made formal requests for their grades to be rechecked, owing to discrepancies.
The Council had committed to complete the process by January 2021, but this deadline passed owing to the coronavirus lockdown, which affected its Barbados headquarters. By January 2021, a majority of the reviews had already been completed and CXC began posting final grades via its online portal. (G1)