Our young, brilliant minds: next phase of academic life

Throughout civilisation, mankind has been making sacrifices for personal and societal advancement. Here, in Guyana, our history is inundated with stories about selfless sacrifices made by our Guyanese foreparents as they laboured in search of betterment for the generation following them.
That cycle continues, and today none can dispute that parents want the best for their children – a desire they would pursue with unwavering commitment. These are not mere words, but are inherent in parenthood, as exemplified by the untold and sometimes unrecognised sacrifices they make as that sense of responsibility through hard work remains.
It is not without its difficulties, more so for some than for others. However, on average, many, resident locally and across the globe, have unfortunate commonalities which are driven by financial challenges. This notwithstanding, parents and guardians remain steadfast to that responsibility of steering their children towards opportunities for societal upliftment. This is more profound in the provision of education, and will continue to be something on which they will not compromise, while often masking their sacrifices and formidable challenges with a protective smile. That smile, which hides the pain over the years, becomes one of unbridled joy when success is finally achieved, as evident following the recent announcement of this year’s National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), CSEC and CAPE results.
For those whose achievements propelled them into the national spotlight, their academic brilliance will become added inspiration for those who will subsequently strive to emulate them. Importantly, for those whose parents or guardians battled against the odds, and moreso the difficulties caused by COVID-19 for its realisation, the achievements embody the many elements of their sacrifices, as those sacrifices become overtaken by pride and tears of joy.
That feeling of success unfolding buries the uncertainty of the outcome which might have prevailed during the process. Not only parents make sacrifices, but students also. While their sacrifices may pale in comparison to those of their parents, students speak of the sacrifices they consciously make in a world that is not short of lure and distraction. Some are quite aware of what their parents face in the process of making their sacrifices, and often, that in itself galvanises and intensifies their efforts for a successful outcome, bringing added value to their parents’ sacrifices.
All must therefore be commended: students, parents, guardians, teachers, and all those who contributed. In addition to the sacrifices and the hard work, the success took commitment, diligence, and the ability to remain focused. The resultant pride transcends that circle and is felt by all, as those, once unknown to the masses, are catapulted into the national glare.
However, there is still much distance to travel for the final dreams to be realised. Much sacrifices may not change in terms of what it will take to succeed. If anything, additional sacrifices may become necessary in order to satisfy the weight of expectation of a nation. As these young and brilliant minds step into the next phase of their academic life, those who would not have made it into the spotlight must not be forgotten. Many, and those around them, would have made similar sacrifices with similar dreams. It’s a natural part of life, and they will also be entering another phase. They must be encouraged, and not belittled. They must be inspired, and not be daunted by the success of their peers, for new opportunities would beckon.
The results will be analysed with the hope that strategic interventions be made to close existing gaps for the success to be holistic. As the world continues in its technological evolution, and as competitiveness heightens, all will need to be adequately prepared as they inevitably enter the work sphere. This in itself dictates holistic preparation with an aim to increasing the success base to meet growing demands of this competitive environment. A practical mechanism that can help improve the national results would therefore have to be quickly derived and implemented. While there will be related challenges, the process of helping to derive that mechanism cannot be delayed.
It will necessitate the involvement of all, with cognizance of the stark realities. A crucial component is the teachers. They also sacrifice, have their fair share of challenges, and with some being parents with obvious dreams and aspirations, their challenges will be further exacerbated. For the process to derive wider positive results, it will take, among other things, unfettered commitment to ensure the provision of adequate resources.
Naturally, teachers would need to feel a sense of confidence that their commitment would be adequately rewarded. In the end, for that pride to be sustained, the commitment to success must also be made by the policy-makers as well; the sooner the better.