Throughout civilisation, mankind has been making sacrifices for personal and societal advancement. Here, in Guyana, our history is inundated with stories about selfless sacrifices by 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 values 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 the average, many, locally and across the globe, have unfortunate commonalities which are driven by financial challenges. Despite this, 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 (NGSA), and, in a matter of weeks, the results of CSEC and CAPE.
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. Importantly for those whose parents or guardians battled against the odds for their realisation, the achievements embody the many elements of their sacrifices as they 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 the students too. While it may pale in comparison, when the students speak of their own sacrifices consciously made in a world that is not short of lure and distraction, some are quite aware of what their parents faced in the process, and often that in itself galvanizes and intensifies the efforts for a successful outcome, bringing added value to it.
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 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 may not change in terms of what it will take. If anything, something may be added – the weight of the expectation of a nation.
As these young and brilliant minds step into the next phase of their academic life, those who had not 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 disappointed in 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. While the nation once again exudes pride over sterling academic achievements, there are concerns over the disparity that exists and worrying pass rates in the pertinent subjects of mathematics and English Language. There has been much talk about this, and a practical national solution will have to be found soonest.
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 at increasing that 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 cognisance 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 by those is charge to ensure the provision of adequate resources.
Naturally, teachers will need to feel a sense of comfort, so 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 all policy makers as well.