EDITORIAL - Congratulations to all 11-Plus students


The Common Entrance Exam results are back!
Congratulations to Zachary Gill and Adia  Deane, who emerged as the top boy and girl, respectively. Kudos also to Talha Mohamed and Khalil Vanderpool-Nurse, the top performers who, along with Gill, scored perfect scores in Mathematics. Alyssa Charles, Rebekah Bethell and Sarah Downes were the top performers in English. 
This year, the Ministry of Education made the decision not to announce the top ten students overall as they had in the past, but instead revealed only the top three. According to the Minister, “they wanted to make it clear that all students have done well within the context of his/her individual capacities and not just the top ten”. He added, “…we shouldn’t be in the habit of saying to a child who scored 60 that you 
didn’t do well. You do well in the context of your ability.”
We commend the Education Minister for taking this stance. In the past, this editorial has pointed out that while this period should ideally be a joyous occasion for all youngsters, for many who have not have achieved high scores in the exam, it may be one filled with feelings of failure, despair and emotional pain, as the emphasis placed on excelling at this particular test places an overwhelming burden on children – one that many are unable to carry. This perspective was also shared by Prime Minister the Hon. Freundel Stuart, who was at that time Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs. He stated, “I look forward to the day when there would be less emphasis on the part of the media, on the parents, on the part of the teachers on highlighting those persons who have done so well in an examination on one day of their lives when they have so many other days to live … so many other mountains to climb to reach the goals and make a meaningful contribution to the civilisation…”.
Most people agree with this outlook, yet parents get caught up with the excitement and place undue pressure on their children. They succumb to the belief that some schools are better than others, and some even try to live out their failed aspirations through their offspring and advise youths away from their dreams because of a perception that certain lifestyle and career choices would be financially unsuccessful.
Admittedly, parents usually believe that they are making the best choices for their children. Therefore, the practice of encouraging youths into the traditional professions of doctor and lawyer would have developed, as adults sought to ensure the future success of their young. This meant targeting older secondary schools, which focused on more academic courses like science and languages, instead of schools which catered to other technical and practical interests.
It is way past time that we acknowledge youngsters’ hard work in all areas, not just academia; after all, achievements in sports and arts, for instance, are hailed at various awards ceremonies throughout the year and can go a long way towards developing the entrepreneurial spirit that this country’s economy requires.
At this time, we again congratulate all students who sat this year’s Common Entrance Examination and wish them well as they enter a new phase of their lives as secondary school students.

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