Private schools have dominated the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination’s (BSSEE) top ten list this year, taking seven of the top positions.
Examining this year’s performance during a press conference at the Ministry’s Conference Room, Constitution Road, this morning, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw announced that this year’s top performer was People’s Cathedral student Brandon Squires who scored 242.96 A, while Adriel Bayrd of St Gabriel’s took the second spot with a score of 242.24 C. Squires is to attend Queen’s College, while Bayrd is headed for Harrison College.
Bradshaw said there were a number of factors that influenced the outcome, including teachers ensuring that their students performed well through utilising various teaching methods.
She also mentioned that Government primary schools have had well-trained teachers over the years, but have been plagued with limited resources.
The Education Minister said: “These are some of the realities that we were facing. It doesn’t make private schools better than the public schools, but I think what it says to us is that we have to deepen our call certainly to be able to ensure that greater resources are applied in the right way, in the public education system.
“We also have to be able to address issues of absenteeism in the system. That is something we have had our challenges with, whereas in the private school that is addressed very quickly.
“There is a process that takes place with the bureaucracy within the current public service that sometimes creates challenges for us to discipline and to deal with persons within the system who may not be fulfilling their functions for our students.
“That being said, there are obviously the scenarios where you have teachers who are trying to do their best, but then they don’t have the Wi-Fi connectivity, or they may not have the correct resources to do what they are supposed to do.”
Daniel Wickham of Wills Private School was third on the list with a score of 242.24 B, just ahead Joshua Connell of St Gabriel’s who scored 241.71 B.
Two public schools produced the top fifth and sixth students – Lawrence T. Gay Memorial’s Janika Walcott and Charles F. Brome Memorial student Zaria Hintzen who each scored exactly 241.52 A.
Sheann Gibbons of the new entrant among private schools, the Belleville Grammar School, was the only person to score 99 in English, as there were no full scores. She took the seventh spot with a total of 241.23 C.
This year, 35 children scored 100 in Mathematics.
Right behind Gibbons was another private school student, Trinity Academy’s Arrielle Thompson who scored 241.18 A. Thompson was followed by Arianne Blades of the public Christ Church Girls, who scored 240.00 A.
The tenth spot came from Government primary school, Good Shepherd, Zahara Diagne scored 240.99 A. She was followed by Charlee Collins of St Winifred’s who scored 240.99 C.
Out of the 3,379 students from 68 public primary schools and 29 private primary schools, 3,283 were allocated to public secondary schools as compared to 3,418 in 2018 and 3,216 in 2017.
This year, out of the 14 requests for students to sit the examination early, three were granted permission.
Two early sitters scored above 90 per cent in both subjects, two scored 100 per cent in Mathematics only, and one scored below 90 per cent in both subjects.